Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, who served as the Commander of the military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, in the Niger Delta before his retirement, but now standing trial for allegedly diverting N8.5 billion between September 2014 and May 2015, in a new revelation made by a witness, was accused of giving N35m to the Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners Chapel.
Testifying at the court yesterday, the trial witness, Nkem Ahidjo, disclosed that his relationship with Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, blossomed after they met in Abuja some years ago where they worshipped at the Aso villa church. According to Ahidjo who disclosed that he even attends night vigils at the retired General’s home, said upon resuming as the head of the JTF command in Bayelsa, Atewe called him over to his home and asked him if he had any account where some monies can be lodged.
He further told the court that Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, who is standing trial alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi; Kime Engozu, Josephine Otuaga and six companies namely Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd, told him he would be transferring some monies into the company accounts and that once he receives the transaction, he should get in touch with him for further instructions.
He invited me to Bayelsa and I went. He told me that the Federal Government gave JTF a grant for security and building of barracks and if I have any company into which account money could be paid. And being somebody I knew very well from Guard Commander to Major General, I provided the companies that I listed earlier.
Each time I received it (money), I would call a BDC operator, named Jimoh. I knew him before this time. He would change the money, I would pay him the naira equivalent and take the dollars. Once I changed it, I would wait for instruction either from Major General Atewe or Mr. Kime. That was what we continued to do until the end of the transaction in 2015,” Ahidjo said.
Ahidjo who disclosed that he doesn’t know what the money transferred to Winners Chapel was used for, told the court that he received a total of N4,915,163,103 within the period, out of which about N4.1bn were converted to dollars and delivered to Engozu, who in turn issued a receipt for each payment based on Atewe’s instruction. He added that of the remaining amount, he was instructed by Atewe to transfer N35m to Winners’ Chapel; N103m to INP Ltd; N170m to First Investment Ltd; N99m to Lord Fem Ltd; N88m to Ocean Gas and N297m to Cisco Nobot.