The immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, was again yesterday arraigned before the Justice Ibrahim Buba led-court of Lagos Federal High Court, by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on alleged stealing of N2.569, 457, 666. 60 billion.
Charged along the former NIMASA Director-General on the alleged theft are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Ameche Juan; Blockz and Stonez Nigeria Limited and Al-Kenzo Nigeria Limited.
It would be recalled that Akpolobokemi and nine others were, on Thursday, arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu of the same court on a 30 count-charge of alleged theft of N3.4 billion.
Though they all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to different bail conditions, Justice Saidu ordered that they be remanded in prisons custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions, and adjourned the case till January 29, 2016, for trial.
However, in the new charge, Akpolobokemi and his co-accused are to face trial on 22-count charges for allegedly stealing the above amount.
The new charge marked FHC/L/511c/15, the EFCC alleged that Akpolobokemi alongside Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Ameche Juan, had on or about February 4, 2014, conspired among themselves to commit the act by converting the said sum, property of NIMASA, which was derived from stealing.
The accused persons were also alleged to have with intent to defraud, conspired to induce the federal government of Nigeria to approve and deliver the said sum, under the false pretence that the said sum represented the cost for the implementation of the International Ship and Ports Security, ISPS, Code in Nigeria Ports.
The alleged offences according to the anti-graft agency prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, are contrary to sections 15(1), 18(a) 8(a), 1(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under section 15(3) and 1(3) of the same Act.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following the plea of the accused persons, EFCC prosecutor, Mr Oyedepo, urged the court to remand them in prisons custody pending the determination of the charges.
But the lawyers to the accused persons led by Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, urged the court to admit bail to accused persons in the most favourable terms.
Nwobike, SAN, who described the charges against his clients as ‘charge splitting,’ said the bail applications were pursuant to section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.
He therefore, urged the court to admit bail to the accused persons in the most favourable conditions.
However, in his bench ruling on the accused persons’ bail applications, Justice Buba admitted them to bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety each.
The surety, according to Justice Buba, must have a landed property whose value is worth the bail sum, with an evidence of current tax payment.
The judge also ordered that all the accused persons must deposit their international travel passport with the court’s deputy chief registrar, and that none of them should travel outside the country during the prosecution of the charge without the permission of the court.
The matter has been adjourned till Monday, December 7, for commencement of the accused persons’ trial.


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