The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday dismissed a no-case submission made by a former acting Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ordered him to open his defence.
A no-case submission is a term whereby a defendant seeks acquittal without having to present a defence.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Obi last April on eight-count charge of converting N378.81million from NIMASA.
He was charged along with Dismass Alu Adoon, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment Limited.
His lawyer, Wale Akoni, urged the court to hold that the prosecution did not make out a prima facie (obvious) case to secure the conviction.
Counsel to the second accused, Joseph Nwobike, also urged the court to uphold the no-case submission of his client and discharge him.
But EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, objected to the no-case submissions, and urged the court to call upon the accused persons to enter their defence.
Ruling, Justice Olatoregun held that “The central issue to consider having gone through the submissions on all sides is whether there is no legally admissible evidence linking the defendants with the commission of the offence of conversion of money belonging to NIMASA, or that the evidence has been discredited by cross examination, or so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal or court can act on it as establishing the criminal guilt of the defendant.
“I cannot at this stage go into evaluation of the evidence before me or whether a particular document was wrongly admitted; the key question is whether those evidence can justifiably secure the conviction of the defendants.”