Justice Saliu Seidu of a Federal High Court, Lagos, has adjourned the trial of immediate past Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokeml and 9 others, who are facing charges bordering on alleged theft of over N3.7 billion before the court to today.
The matter was adjourned for ruling on admissibility of a document tendered by the prosecution, and continuation of trial of accused persons.
Those charged alongside the former NIMASA Director-General are; Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Felix Bob-Nabena; Captain Warredi Enisouh; Governor Amechee Juan; Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari and two limited liability companies: Al-kenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.
At the resumed trial of accused persons on Wednesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had called its first witness, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Teslim Adekunle, who claimed to be responsible for enquiries from regulatory agencies such as EFCC, the Nigeria Police Force, NDLEA and others.
Adekunle, while being led in evidence by lawyer to EFCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo, informed the court that Zenith Bank Plc had between August and December 2015, received several enquiries from EFCC among which are request to produce the statement of account, opening package and certificate of identification of three companies, namely: Interwind Limited, Margai Integrated Limited and Grandpact Limited.
However, the matter was adjourned following heated legal argument on another document on Thlumba Enterprise Limited, which the prosecution had earlier tendered but called for its withdrawal, afterDr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, the lawyer to Akpobolokemi, and other lawyers for accused persons, had objected to the admissibility of the document and want the court to mark it as ‘reject’, on the ground that it was a photocopy.
Consequently, Justice Saidu adjourned the matter to today, to rule on the admissibility of the document, and continuation of accused persons’ trial.
The EFCC witness had earlier informed the court that the original copy of the document was in the archive of the bank.
Akpobolokemi, and other accused persons are facing 30 count charges of conversion of the sum of N3.700,629 billion before Justice Saliu Saidu led-Federal High Court, Lagos.
The EFCC in a charge number FHC/L/496c/15, alleged that Akpobolokemi and other accused persons had on or before December 20, 2013 conspired among themselves to convert the said sum which was derived from stealing NIMASA.
The alleged offences, according to the EFCC prosecutors, Mr. Festus Keyamo and Rotimi Oyedepo, are contrary to and punishable under section 18(a) and 15(1)of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act. 2012, and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
Count one if the charge reads; “That you Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Felix Bob-Nabena; Captain Warredi Enisouh; Governor Amechee Juan; Ugo Frederick and Timi Alari, Al-kenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited on or about 20th day of December, 2013, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit; conversion of the sum of N1,151,214.00, (One billion, one hundred and fifty one million, two hundred and forty thousand naira), property of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, which was derived from stealing and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act. 2012, and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The accused persons had pleaded not guilty to all the counts charges, and been granted bail by the court.
Akpobolokemi and other accused persons are also facing another criminal charges of alleged fraud of N2.6 billion, and another criminal charge of N34 billion alongside Ex-Niger/Delta militant leader, Government ‘Tompolo’ Ekpolodomu, before Justice Ibrahim Nasir Buba of a Lagos Federal High Court, and another criminal charge of N754.8 million fraud, before an Igbosere High Court of Lagos State.


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