N1.5bn money laundering: Ex-NIMASA Executive Director bags seven years jail term

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By Seun Ibiyemi

A Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Executive Director (ED), Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, to seven years imprisonment for laundering N1.5 billion.

Agaba, who was in charge of Maritime, Safety, and Shipping development was said to have looted the money from the agency.

The former Executive Director, worked closely under the administration of Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi under President Goodluck Jonathan between 2012 to 2015.

Presiding Judge,Justice Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday,convicted and sentenced Captain Agaba, for seven years jail term .

The convict was prosecuted on seven-count amended charges, bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal Office, following a 2015 intelligence report of fraud in NIMASA and subsequent investigations that unearthed several suspicious transactions to the tune of N1,699,808,666.60, traced to him.

One of the charges read: “That you, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba between the 23rd of December, 2013, and 13th of March, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court, converted through Seabulk Offshore Operator Ltd, the sum of N437,726,666.60 (Four Hundred and Thirty-Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira, Sixty Kobo), property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded not guilty to the charges, upon arraignment, prompting his trial.