Court Discharges And Acquits Ex-NIMASA Boss Of N2.6n Fraud
A former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has been discharged and acquitted of a N2.6bn allegation by a court of appeal sitting in Lagos state.
In a lead judgment delivered on Friday by Justice Yargatta Nimpar, a three-man appellate court panel upheld the no-case submission filed by Akpolokemi in response to the criminal charges against him.
The Appeal Court has by this judgement, overturned a ruling of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos, who, on October 16, 2017, dismissed Akpobolokemi’s no-case submission.
Naija News recalls the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had, in 2015, arraigned Akpobolokemi and five others for allegedly diverting N2.6bn approved by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project tagged, “International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigerian Ports” from the accounts of NIMASA between December 2013 and May 2015.
Those charged alongside Akpobolokemi were Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited.
However, the six defendants had all pleaded not guilty to the 22 charges pressed against them.
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.
But Justice Buba, in an October 16, 2017 ruling, dismissed their no-case submissions, holding that they had a case to answer.
They all appealed the judgement however, and in a judgment on Friday, June 1, 2018, the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted Akpobolokemi of the entire 22 counts.
The five other defendants were however not as lucky, with the appellate court upholding Justice Buba’s verdict that they had a case to answer.