Court adjourns Akpobolokemi, Atewe N8.5bn fraud trial to April

Federal High Court, Lagos

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Monday adjourned the trial of an erstwhile Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, until April 25 and April 27.

Akpobolokemi, retired Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, a former military commander of the Niger-Delta Joint Task Force, ‘Operation Pulo Shield’ and two other members of staff of NIMASA; Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga, were charged with N8.5 billion fraud.

The accused were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an amended 22-count charge bordering on fraud.

The EFCC prosecutor, I. A. Mohammed, and counsel to the first and second accused, Tokunbo Ajibulu and Chidinma Okoronkwo — were respectively present in court.

Also present was Mathew Buka, counsel to the third and fourth accused. The third and fourth accused were, however, absent in court.

Buka had apologised to the presiding judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, for the absence of the third and fourth accused, saying the accused persons were not aware of today’s sitting.

The EFCC had alleged that the accused conspired and diverted N8.5 billion from “Operation Pulo Shield” between Sept. 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015, using some companies.

The companies are Jagan Ltd, Jagan Trading Company Ltd, Jagan Global Services Ltd, Al-Nald Ltd, Paper Warehouse Ltd, Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.