The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed fresh charges against former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and six others before Justice Raliatu Adebiyi of Ikeja High Court in Lagos.
He is charged alongside Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.
The accused were initially charged with 13-count charge bordering on stealing and fraud over an alleged theft of N754.8 million belonging to NIMASA.
In the old 13-count charge, they were alleged to have, between Oct. 30, 2014, and May 6, 2015, converted N754.8 million belonging to the agency to their personal use.
The monies were allegedly released to the defendants for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organisation Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS).
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the defendants knowingly forged a document titled, “Re: Request for Payment as consultant for VIMSAS Administration Services”, dated May 25, 2015, purported to have been issued by Arrow World Consulting Ltd.
According to EFCC, the offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 285 and 409 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2011.
EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that the anti-graft agency had filed fresh charges against the defendants, noting that they should be re-arraigned and have their plea taken.
The EFCC, however, did not reveal details of the fresh charges.
The defence counsel to Agaba, E. D. Onyeke, however, requested for more time to examine the new charges and to advise his client accordingly.
Onyeke said, “The prosecution has not afforded us the opportunity to view the list of new prosecution witnesses, who, somewhere along the line, will come here to give evidence. I need to be well informed.
“I request that we are given time to look at the amended charge so that I will advise my client and the defendants will take their plea.”
Oyedepo agreeing with the submission said Onyeke should be given time in the interest of justice.
He said, “When we come back on Monday, the defendants will be arraigned, their plea taken and we will proceed with trial.”
Justice Adebiyi acceding to the requests of the prosecuting and defence counsel, adjourned the case until Nov. 5 for re-arraignment and continuation of trial.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.