JUST IN: Alleged N2.6bn Fraud; Appeal court frees ex-NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi

JUST IN: Alleged N2.6bn Fraud; Appeal court frees ex-NIMASA DG, Akpobolokemi

Ebun Francis|

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Friday, discharged and acquitted, Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who was charged with an alleged fraud of N2.6bn by the EFCC.

Justice Buba had in an October 16, 2017 ruling, dismissed their no-case submissions, holding that they had a case to answer.

But a three-man appellate court panel, headed by Justice Yargatta Nimpar, upheld the no-case submission filed by Akpolokemi in response to the criminal charges.

The Appeal Court overturned the decision of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos, who dismissed Akpobolokemi’s no-case submission on October 16, 2017.

The EFCC had arraigned Akpobolokemi alongside five others for allegedly diverting N2.6bn from the coffers of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015 on December 4, 2015.

The funds, the anti-graft agency argued, were approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project, “International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigerian Ports.”

Those charged alongside Akpobolokemi were Governor Juan, Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.

All the six defendants pleaded not guilty to the 22 charges pressed against them, following which the EFCC opened its case, calling 12 witnesses and tendering 77 exhibits in a bid to prove the allegation.

Upon the closure of the EFCC’s case in 2017, all the defendants had filed no-case submissions, contending that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

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