An investigative report by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has found Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), guilty of N829 million fraud in kickbacks and money laundering activities.
The EFCC probe report sighted by our correspondent on Sunday revealed that Koko after being investigated was found to have received the N829 million from NPA contractors, and in cash sums from individuals and companies.
The EFCC carried out a “financial profiling” of Koko in August 2021 and found out that the NPA MD worked with an associate, Ali Amin Abubakar and had benefitted from awards of contracts totalling N1,107,654,133 from the Rivers State Government and others.
At the time the report was done, Koko was the acting Managing Director of the NPA. Following the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman as the Managing Director of NPA by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency announced Koko as her replacement in an acting capacity.
Koko was previously the director of finance and administration at NPA. Buhari in February 2022 confirmed Koko as substantive managing director of the NPA.
“Consequently, the foregoing strongly infer the subject’s and associates’ complicity in acts of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, fraud and money laundering,” the EFCC report said.
In the introduction section, the EFCC probe report said, “The Directorate received information that the acting NPA MD, Koko was involved in receiving kickbacks from NPA contractors and was involved in money laundering activities. Mohammed Koko is the current MD of the NPA.
“From 2005 to 2015, he worked at the Zenith Bank PLC in Port Harcourt, where he rose to the position of Assistant General Manager before being appointed as the NPA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration.”
“During the term of former Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, he was also the designated Zenith Bank account officer for the Rivers State Government. According to reports, Mohammed Koko was brought before a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt by the EFCC in 2009 together with three other top officials of Zenith Bank on charges of fraud totalling N3.6 billion,” the probe report further revealed.
The report noted that his financial profile showed that he had several accounts in five banks.
The EFCC went on to analyse Koko’s bank accounts and the amounts of money in inflow and outflow which all confirmed the alleged fraudulent acts of the NPA boss.
In the summary of findings in the report, the EFCC investigation team said, “One, Mohammed Bello Koko received payments in cash and transfers totalling N829 million into his Zenith Bank personal account between 2015 and May 2021.
“Two, he is a director at M.B.K Business consults and Cethes company which Ali Amin Abubakar is also a director in both companies.”
The EFCC in the report recommended the prosecution of Koko for the various fraud and money laundering discoveries alongside his alleged accomplice, Ali Abubakar.
“It is recommended that the Operations department should investigate the capital expenditure accounts and tenders board minutes of the NPA during Mohammed Koko’s tenure as executive director, finance and administration preparatory to his possible prosecution alongside his suspected accomplice, Ali AMIN Abubakar,” the report concluded.
It had been reported on February 15, 2021, reported that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mohammed Bello Koko as the substantive Managing Director of the NPA.
Meanwhile, the Pandora Papers in 2021 revealed that Bello Koko was behind two shell companies incorporated in a tax haven to anonymously invest in the United Kingdom property market.
This potentially violates Nigeria’s public service code of conduct laws.
Pandora Papers also disclosed that he and his wife, Agatha Anne Koko, enlisted the services of financial secrecy seller, Cook Worldwide and Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), an offshore law firm, to register Coulwood Limited (reg. number: 1487897) and Marney Limited (reg. number: 1487944) in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), one of the world’s most commonly used tax havens, in 2008.
Both companies were registered on the same day, June 19, 2008.
Though a public servant, Bello Koko is also a director of the two companies, in violation of Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (Sections 5 and 6).
Pandora Papers project is led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).