N2.6bn NIMASA Fraud: Patrick Akpobolokemi is sick, fails to appear in court

The ongoing trial of a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpolobokemi, for an alleged fraud of N2.6bn was unable to go on yesterday as scheduled as the accused’s lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike, told the court that his client had fallen ill.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistics Limited before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on December 4, 2015 on 22 counts before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

Already the EFCC had called 12 witnesses and is expected to close its case soon.

At the resumed proceedings yesterday, Akpobolokemi’s lawyer, Nwobike, told the court that his client was indisposed and unfit to stand trial for the day.

He prayed the court for an adjournment to enable his client to recover before the trial would continue.

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Consequently, Justice Buba adjourned further proceedings till Friday May 27, 2016.

The EFCC alleged, among other things, that the accused persons “induced the Federal Government to approve and deliver to NIMASA the sum of N795,200,000 under the false pretence that the sum represented the cost for the implementation of the International Ship and Ports Security Code in Nigeria Ports.”

This alleged offence is said to contravene Section 8 (a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Act.

They were accused of converting to their personal use, a total of N2,658,957,666, belonging NIMASA, between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the offences following they were admitted to bail in the sum of N50m each with two sureties in like sum.

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