Tuesday, March 22, 2016 4:56 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arraigned the former boss of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,NIMASA Patrick ziadeke Akpobolokemi, and eight others over a N35 billion fraud through a new amended charge
The arraignment had been continuously stalled due to the inability of the EFCC to arrest Government Ekpemupolo (also known as Tompolo). to appear before the court to face trial of allege fraud running into billion of Naira.
This necessitated the anti graft agency to amend the charge and remove his name Pending the time he will be apprehended to come and face trial.
In the new forty count criminal charge, Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu, and Captain Warredi Enisuoh are accused of conspiracy to commit the fraud between 2012 and 2015. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Consequently,Dr Joseph Nwobike SAN leading nine other lawyers urged the court to admit the accused persons to bail in the most liberal terms.
The presiding Judge Ibrahim Buba admitted the accused persons to bail. With the exception of Warredi Enisuoh, in the sum N50 million with “one reliable surety in like sum.”
Mr. Enisuoh, who was charged in two out of the 40 counts (totalling N8 million),was granted bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety.
”The accused persons who are already on bail are to perfect their bail conditions within 24 hours or be remanded in prison,
While those appearing before the court for the first time should perfect their bail conditions today or be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Buba adjourned till May 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th for trial.
The. Court also adjourned till April 18th for arraignment, another 22 count charge of fraud involving Messrs Ekpemupolo, Akpobolokemi and 11 others.
A federal high court , on January 14, issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Ekpemupolo after he failed to appear before the court.
On February 8, Judge Buba renewed the arrest warrant, paving way for the EFCC to declare Mr. Ekpemupolo wanted.
*Kuponiyi can be reached at:[email protected]