N3.7bn Fraud: Ex-NIMASA’s DG, Akpolobokemi, Others’ Trial Stalled, As Hoodlums ‘Touched’ Counsel’s Chambers
Further trial of Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi, a former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and seven others before a Federal High Court, Lagos, was stalled due today, due absence of one of their lawyers, Mr. E. D. Onyeneke, who law firm was ‘touched’ by hoodlums during the ‘EndSARS Protest’, across the country.
Akpolobokemi and others are being tried before Justice Ayokunle Faji on 30 counts charge of illegal and unlawful conversion of the sum of N3.700,629 billion, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in a charge marked FHC/L/496c/2015.
Others standing trial alongside Akpolobokemi are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuchu: Captain Warredi Enisouh and a limited liability firm Al-kenzo Limited.
The defendants were alleged to had on or before December 20, 2013, by conspiring among themselves to converts the said sum which was derived from stealing NIMASA.
The alleged offences according to the EFCC, are contrary to and punishable under section 18(a) and 15(1)of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act. 2012, and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
The defendants have denied the allegations and admitted to bail in various terms.
However, at the continued hearing of the matter today, one of the court’s Registrar informed the presiding judge that Mr. E. D. Onyinke, counsel to the second defendant, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, asked the court for adjournment, due to his Chambers, which was ‘touched’ during EndSARS protest.
The Registrar also informed the judge of Mr. Onyinke’s request for issuance of production warrant of his client, Mr. Agaba, a former Executive Director with NIMASA, who is currently serving a seven year jail-term over money laundering charges.
No counsel represented the prosecution, while Mr. Matthew Bukah, counsel to Akpolobokemi, was the only lawyer in court. Also, non of the defendants was in court.
Following the information relayed by the Registrar, which was not opposed by the counsel to Akpolobokemi, Justice Faji adjourned the matter till November 3, 4 and 5, 2020, for further hearing of the charge.
Justice Faji also ordered that a production warrant be issued for the second defendant, Mr. Agaba.
Count of the charge reads; “that you Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Captain Warredi Enisouh;, Al-kenzo on or about 20th day of December, 2013, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit; conversion of the sum of N1,151,214.00, (One billion, one hundred and fifty one million, two hundred and forty thousand naira), property of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, which was derived from stealing and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act. 2012, and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”