June 23, 2024

Alleged N754.8m fraud: Court adjourns Ex-NIMASA D-G, Akpobolokemi’s case till May 5


Glory Ebmah

Justice R.I.B Adebiyi of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, March 24, 2023, adjourned till May 5, 2023, for ruling on the No-case submission filed by the duo of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and Ezekiel Bala Agaba, a former Executive Director, NIMASA, who are standing trial for an alleged N754.8 million fraud.

Akpobolokemi and Agaba were initially charged alongside Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Ekene Nwakuche, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd. before the charge was amended to involve only both of them.

At today’s proceedings, the defence counsel, Collins Ogbonna and E.D. Onyeke, separately, adopted the final written addresses of their clients and also urged the court to uphold the no-case submissions of their clients.

They further urged the court to hold that the prosecution had not made a prima facie case against the defendants that would necessitate them taking to the dock to defend themselves.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, while adumbrating on the response of the prosecution, urged the court to rely on the evidence placed before it by the prosecution as well as the testimony of the 12 witnesses called.

Oyedepo also urged the court to dismiss the no-case submissions of the defendants as lacking in merit. “The evidence before my lord establishes the essential ingredients of conspiracy, stealing and forgery,” he said, adding that even “the second defendant admitted the essential ingredients of the offence: the conspiracy to steal and the conspiracy to forge a document.”

He added: “His statement contains a confession, which contains no further documentary evidence for your lordship to make a finding of facts, substantively.”

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submissions as lacking in merit, and to order the defendants to open their defence as “they have a lot of explanations to make.”

Justice Adebiyi adjourned till Friday, May 5, 2023, for a ruling.

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