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Alleged N19.7bn NIMASA Fraud: I was told to transfer N35m to Winners Chapel – Witness tells Court

NAN

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A Federal High Court in Lagos today heard how Living Faith Church (LFC) Worldwide a.k.a Winners Chapel, allegedly got N35million out  of the N19.7billion allegedly stolen from the accounts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The money was allegedly paid to the church on the instruction of Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, a former commander of the Joint Task Force, now facing trial for fraud.

Ahidjo Ikem, a witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the revelation in court today.

When asked by the prosecutor the reason for payment to the church, he said no reason was given by Maj.-Gen. Atewe.

Ikem is the Managing Director of five companies charged alongside the former JTF Commander and the former Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, and two other persons – Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga.

Ikem’s companies charged alongside the accused persons are; Jaggan Limited; Jaggan Trading Company Limited; Jaggan Global Services Limited; Al-Nald Limited; and Paper Warehouse Limited,

Other companies charged with the accused persons are: Eastpoint Integrated Services Limited and De-Newlink Integrated Services Limited.

In his testimony before Justice Ayokunle Faji, at the resumption of trial on Friday, Ikem disclosed how his five companies became the conduit pipes used by Major-General Atewe in laundering N4.9 billion from the JTF’s account.

Ikem, while being led-in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he came in contact with the former JTF Commander at the Villa Church where they both worship, when the JTF Commander was Guard Brigade Commander.

He said sometime between July and September 2014, when Major-General Atewe became the JTF Commander, he invited him to Bayelsa State and told him that he had been given a contract by the Federal Government for maintenance of security and building of barracks.

Atewe, he said, asked for the names of his companies, so that the payment could be made through them.

He stated that he gave the JTF Commander all the names of his five companies, with the bank details and the addresses.

Ikem informed the court that his companies had no contractual agreement with JTF, neither were they registered contractors nor suppliers of  any goods or services to JTF.

The witness told the court that not quite long thereafter, the JTF Commander invited him to Bayelsa State again and told him that the money was about coming to his account, adding that once he received it, he should inform him.

He stated that two or three days after his visit to Bayelsa State, he received alerts, and when he called the JTF Commander, he told him to keep the money until he returned to Abuja.

He said when Major-General Atewe came to Abuja, he joined him at Niger Barracks, where he was introduced to Kime Engonzu, the third accused person.

Atewe, Ikem said, told him to hand over all the money to Kime.

Ikem who is the first prosecution witness in the matter said, the total money he received was N4.9 billion, out of which he changed N4.1 billion to $21.5m USD at a Bureau De Change (BDC) operated by a man named as Jimoh.

The Naira balance, he said, was given to some companies and the Winners Chapel as directed by Major-General Atewe.

Ikem told the court that he gave Kime the dollars, who in turn followed the instructions of the JTF Commander.

The witness also told the court that he collected $950,000 from one Chijioke, who is also a good friend of Major-General Atewe, and gave it to Kime.

He said N35 million was paid to Living Faith Church, N103 million to INP Limited, N107 million to First Investment Limited, while Lord Firm Limited got N99million, Ocean Gas, N88million and Sisco Nobort received N297 million.

The witness said in the course of the investigation of the matter, he was invited by the EFCC. He wrote four statements.

However, the presiding judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, adjourned the matter till March 21, 22 and 23, following a complaint from the first accused person (Akpolobokemi) who said he had health challenges mid-way through the trial.

In the 22-count charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N19.7 billion using the seven companies.

The EFCC alleged that the accused committed the fraud between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

23 Comments

  1. YYC Mama

    February 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Bellanaija, what is it with you and Living Faith Church? I’m not a member of the church, I’m just curious.

    • A Real Nigerian

      February 17, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      There is nothing with them and Living Faith Church. They are just report the news like it is.
      Living Faith Church has always been far from the ideologies of the christian God.
      It is a church led by a corrupt, shameless charlatan named Oyedepō who has managed to use false religion to deceive shallow Nigerians whose minds have been compromised by poverty and greed.
      That church has never had any reputation and they deserve to be shamed.

    • A Real Nigerian

      February 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Reporting.

    • Jah Sharon

      February 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      Personally, I think churches extort worshipers. However, are churches supposed to create investigation department in order to investigate worshipers’ source of income and where tithes come from? Are churches supposed to create their own EFCC and ICPC? It will be very unfair to blame churches for followers’ contributions

    • Patrick

      February 17, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Well said. I have had a similar knowledge/experience . They are all brood of vipers these so called pastors and this is their ring leader!

    • newbie

      February 17, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Choi!

    • Ogbuefi

      February 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      Personally, I don’t think there is nothing wrong with religious organizations accepting such sums as donations from Individuals/corporate bodies. However, the Church should be mandated to report to CBN/EFCC on a monthly basis (just like Banks do) donations that are made by Individuals that are above N500k and those by corporate bodies that are above N1M. In this way, donors of ill-gotten wealth can be checked and investigated for graft.

  2. Story

    February 17, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Just one member of the church can pay you back. Let us know the account please.

  3. RiRi

    February 17, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Choi. I am sure the church can return 35mil if it is part of a fraud. I think it’s time for churches to request source of income before accepting tithes.
    Some keep quiet when it’s in millions and person is faceless. The church is not on trial here though..
    Bella Naija did not invent the [email protected] Mama..
    Ease off a bit in defense of churches, you can only truly vouch for yourself to be perfectly honest.

    • A Real Nigerian

      February 17, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      “I think it’s time for churches to request source of income before accepting tithes.”

      They KNOW the sources of the money put into their churches by these big men. They just decide to look past it because they have no dignity and are willing to abandon the word of God which they claim to uphold just for money.
      Disgusting.

    • Fasholaslover

      February 17, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Stealing in d name of God. Did that jerry curled adulterer not refuse to refund millions stolen by a certain clerk/account officer from Sheraton? Even when it became public knowledge that the. money was stolen.

      Thunder fire anyone who comes here to defend his/her “Papa” who do not know of your existence.

  4. funmilola

    February 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    is that all you have to say?
    just say bellanaija is witch-hunting too.

  5. #Proudnigerian

    February 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    So you steal money and take it to church and think God will accept your offering as a sweet aroma ? Wehdonesir . When God asked Saul to destroy all the amalekites he went ahead and spared Agag and their livestock stating that he wanted to sacrifice the livestock to the LORD Samuel told him TO OBEY is better than Sacrifice. Where in the bible do you see people steal ,take it to the Lords alter and God accepted ?. Some people be reading the bible upside down. Oga carry your cross.

    • Jah Sharon

      February 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Thieves are trying to use blood money to contaminate God’s money.

  6. Prince

    February 17, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Bellanaija don see news nah. Can’t you use another heading. why must it be church that you’ll use. you dey find traffic. you don get am

    • A Real Nigerian

      February 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Why should they use another heading? The church is one of the institutions that should uphold the highest moral values in the society and yet they are actively involved in looting. That alone is enough to put them at the forefront of the shaming.

    • ioeoiio

      February 17, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      oshare u dey jonze big time.List the things you have done in your private capacity to improve moral values of the society.

  7. Authentic Sunshine

    February 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Can they start charging these people already and it should be a law that convicts must include this info on their bio data on any social network.

  8. ioeoiio

    February 17, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    all over the world where have you seen churches or mosques question offerings, tithes or gifts.If 100 people give 10 will always be question marked.If the police or efcc prove that it is a fruit from a crime , then they would return it. I dont undersatnd all these noice. This might even be false as this is an allegation by a witness.People ranting here when the call for protest everybody go de fear.

  9. Amh

    February 17, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Churches in Nigeria should be auditioned. I thinkit’s high time they pay tax. Government looters use churches to Launder money and 10 percent of the collective money is for the pastor. The church account is not investigated. They are prominent men of God involved in looting for politicians. It’s a racket which has been ongoing for years.

    • Mamaceeta

      February 18, 2017 at 5:01 am

      What should they audition for, big brother naija?

  10. Ade

    February 18, 2017 at 7:41 am

    All Propogander, stop distracting us frm the main issue , where is buhari, some of us are smart,
    2. how many pple have efcc locked up since you have been blowing whistle,what happend To the case of farouk lawan,bankole,buratai etc, u just blow whistle To distract and the case dies after sometime,
    Nigerians wake up

  11. Nyc

    February 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    THIS HAS GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH LIVING FAITH CHURCH BUT ONE out of many IGNORANT SO CALLED CHRISTIAN TRYING TO PLEASE HIS CHURCH AND PASTOR CLAIMING TO BE ABLE TO DONATE HUGE SUMS TO THE CHURCH..ALL YOU GOVERNMENT THIEVES AND OTHER KIND OF THIEVES, STO STEALING MONEY TO COME DONATE TO THE CHURCH SO THAT YOU CAN SAY YOU SowED HUGE SEED TO THE CHURCH..THE JUDGEMENT FIRE OF GOD WILL DESTROY YOU ALL THAT WANT TO POLLUTE THE CHURCH WITH YOUR FILTHY STOLEN WEALTH.

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