Thursday, December 3, 2015 4:56 pm
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today, arraigned the former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, before a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria.
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, G. Amechee Juan, Ugo Fredrick and Timi Alari. The two companies are, Al-kenzo Limited,Penniel Engineering services Limited.
When the matter was mentioned, the EFCC prosecutor, Oyedepo Rotimi, applied to the court for the charge to be read to the accused persons so that their plea could be taken. All the defence lawyers, led by Dr Joseph Nwobike, did not raise any objection. Consequently, the presiding Judge Saliu Saidu ordered the charge to be read.
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 Dr Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi and other co-accused mentioned above and one Grace Z. Subai alleged to be at large, between 20th December 2013 and 28th May 2015, were alleged to have conspired together to steal and converted the sum of.N3. 4 billion, property of NIMASA thereby they 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.
When the charge was read to the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty. Thereafter Dr Joseph Nwobike, leading nine other lawyers who adopted his submission while arguing his bail application filed before the court, applied for bail in liberal terms on the ground that the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. In addition, Dr Nwobike submitted further that the accused, who are on EFCC administrative bail, came from their respective homes will not jump bail if granted bail.
However, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Oyedepo Rotimi, while not opposing the bail of fourth to eight accused persons opposed the bail of Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi on the ground that when he was granted administrative bail by the EFCC, he jumped bail and failed to come back to the commission until his sureties were arrested and detained.
In his ruling, the presiding Judge, Saliu Saidu, admitted, Apolobokemi to bail in the sum of N100million with two sureties, one of the sureties who must be his relation must be a landed property owner in either, Ikoyi, Victoria Island or Lekki. Also the accused former NiMASA boss must deposit his international passport with the court, while the other accused persons were granted bail in the sum of N50million with two sureties and one of the sureties must be a landed property owner in either Ikoyi or Victoria island. All the documents of the landed property are to be verified by the court Registrar.
Thereafter Justice Saidu adjourned till 29th of January, 2016 when the trial of the accused persons will commence.