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Major General Emmanuel Atewe, the former commander of guards brigade and commander of the Joint Military Task Force, operation Pulo Shield, is currently standing trial before Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering.
Major General Emmanuel Atewe (LEFT), Josephine Otuaga and Kime Enguzu on their way to court Credit: Premium Times

Major General Emmanuel Atewe (LEFT), Josephine Otuaga and Kime Enguzu on their way to court Credit: Premium Times

Among the other accused are Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga. The four allegedly conspired to divert over N8billion paid into the account of the Joint Military Task Force by NIMASA during the tenure of Mr Akpobolokemi.

According to a statement by Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC’s spokesperson, the money was converted into foreign exchange and the proceeds were shared among the defendant.

The statement reads in part: “Specifically, payments to the tune of N8, 537,586,798.58 were allegedly made to the JTF’s account with a new generation bank by NIMASA.

A substantial part of the money, about N6, 038,350,741 was converted into United States Dollars by Atewe and Akpobolokemi, through various Bureau De Change operators, and handed over to Enzogu and Otuaga who were business partners to Akpobokelemi and thereafter shared by the defendants.

Part of the money was allegedly used in the acquisition of choice properties in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as shares in blue chip companies.”

One of the 11 charges read: “That you Mr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga, sometime in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court with intent to defraud conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit;

Conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 (Eight billion, five hundred and thirty seven million, five hundred and eighty six thousand, seven hundred and ninety eight Naira, fifty eight kobo), property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)(Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Atewe, Akpobolokemi, who also faces corruption charges, Engozu and Otuaga pleaded not guilty to the charges. Emmanuel Atewe is the only one who was not granted bail, three others were remanded pending when they perfect the terms of their bail.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was ready for trial with his witnesses and pleaded for accelerated hearing. Justice Saidu adjourned the case to June 24, 2016 for commencement of trial.
8:41 AM

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