You Have Case to Answer, Court Tells Ex-NIMASA Boss, Akpobolokemi


A Federal High Court sitting  in Lagos has dismissed the no-case submission filed by a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others and ordered them to enter their defence immediately.
Akpobolokemi was charged with N2.6 billion fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Ibrahim Buba  said the arguments on the no-case submission by the defence counsel, Joseph Nwobike (SAN), cannot hold water at this stage of trial because the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had through the 12 prosecution witness, establish a prima-facie case against the defendants
Justice Buba fixed October 30 and 31 for defence to open their case
On December 4, 2015 the EFCC arraigned Akpobolokemi alongside five others, for allegedly diverting N2.6 billion from the coffers of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the funds were approved by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project.

Also charged with Akpobolokemi were Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Ltd. and Al-Kenzo Logistic Ltd.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the 22-count charge pressed against them.
The prosecution had then opened its case and during trial, called 12 witnesses and tendered 77 exhibits in a bid to establish its case.

 The prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, had argued that the testimonies of the 12 witnesses and the 77 exhibits tendered had successfully linked Akpobolokemi to the alleged fraud.
He argued that being the head and chief accounting officer of NIMASA at the time of the alleged fraud, Akpobolokemi could not by any stretch of imagination claim to be innocent.

He argued that even if it was the former president that approved the security project, Akpobolokemi was the head of NIMASA at the time, who constituted a committee to handle the project and also approved funds.

In the 22-count charge, the EFCC alleged that the accused induced the federal government to approve and deliver to NIMASA N795 million under the false pretence that the sum represented the cost for the implementation of the Security Code in Nigeria.
These alleged offences contravene Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.