The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi jumped the administrative bail granted him before his arraignment in court.
This was disclosed by Prosecuting Counsel, Oyedepo Rotimi who opposed Akpobolokemi’s bail application at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
This was shortly before the commotion that ensued as a detachment of Mobile Policemen accompanied by EFCC operatives forcefully seized and whisked away the embattled former NIMASA boss outside the court premises.
The embattled Akpobolokemi who had been arraigned before two different courts of the Federal High Court on charges of stealing and conversion of money running into billions of naira was just coming from a court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, where one of the cases was adjourned till January 18, 2016, for trial and was about to enter his car outside the court when he was accosted by two EFCC operatives and two armed Mobile Policemen.
The encounter degenerated into scuffle when he tried to resist arrest and the two armed policemen called for reinforcement. Four other Mobile Policemen who were lurking around joined their colleagues and overpowered him.
They forcefully bundled him into a waiting bus and whisked him away.
Justice Ibrahim Buba had adjourned till January 18 for the trial of the accused person to commence, after Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) leading seven other lawyers, on behalf of other counsel appearing for three other accused persons, urged the court to adjourn the case to enable them study the case file since they had just been briefed.
The EFCC had also just served them additional proof of evidence in the open court on Monday, December 14. The EFCC prosecutor Festus Keyamo did not raise any objection.
In the first case Akpobolokemi was arraigned with three other accused persons and three companies over an alleged stealing and conversion of N2,659,457,666. In a 22-count criminal charge number FHC/L/511C/15 signed and filed before the court by EFCC prosecutor Barrister Festus Keyamo, it was alleged that Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, and Governor Amechee Juan with intent to defraud conspired together to induce the Federal Government of Nigeria to approve and deliver to NIMASA the sum of N2,659,457,666.60 under the false pretence that the said sum represented the cost for the implementation of the International Ship and Port Security(ISPS) code in Nigeria’s Ports.
They thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a) 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
All the accused persons were also alleged to have conspired with these three companies: Block and Stonz Ltd, Kenzo Logistics Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Ltd, to commit the offence thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Act 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same act.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty. Consequently, Nwobike leading seven other lawyers while arguing their bail application urged the court to admit them to bail on the ground that they are presumed innocent until they are found guilty,
They were admitted to bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety who must possess landed property worth N50 million and the accused must deposit their international passports with the court as they are also banned from travelling outside the country.
In the second case, EFCC arraigned Akpobolokemi before the court in Lagos for allegedly stealing and converting N3.4 billion.
Also arraigned alongside the former NIMASA boss were seven accused persons and two companies namely: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Felix Bob-Nabena, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Governor Amechee Juan, Ugo Fredrick, Timi Alari, while the two companies are, Al-Kenzo Limited and Penniel Engineering Services Limited.
In a 30-count criminal charge number FHC/L/496C/15 signed and filed before the court by EFCC prosecuting counsel Barrister Festus Keyamo, it was alleged that Akpobolokemi and other co-accused mentioned earlier and Grace Z. Subai alleged to be at large, between 20 December 2013 and 28 May 2015, were alleged to have conspired together to steal and convert N3,407,549,000 property of NIMASA thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 15(1),15(3) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Act of 2012 as amended. All the accused pleaded not guilty.
By Pita Ochai