How Winners Chapel Got N35m Out of N19.7bn Stolen From NIMASA- Witness

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday heard how Bishop David Oydepo’s Winners Chapel received N35million out of the N19.7billion stolen from the accounts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

According to Mr. Ahijo Ikem, an EFCC witness, the money was paid to the church on the instruction of Major-General Emmanuel Atewe, a former commander of the Joint Task Force, now facing trial for fraud.

Ikem is the Managing Director of five companies charged alongside the former JTF Commander and the former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, and two other persons in alleged N19.7 billion fraud.

He said he met the JTF commander in 2014. The commander told him he just got a government contract and asked for the names of his 5 firms along with their bank details and addresses.

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 said the total money he received was N4.9 billion, N4.1billion out of which he changed to $21.5m USD at a Bureau De Change (BDC) operated by a man named as Jimoh. The naira balance 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 USD 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 N99million Ocean Gas, N88million and Sisco Nobort N297 million.

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

The matter was adjourned till March 21, 22 and 23, following a complaint from the first accused person (Akpolobokemi) who complained of health challenges mid-way of the trial.


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