Court asks NIMASA ex-DG, others to defend selves
Ajudua’s alleged $1m fraud for hearing Nov. 30
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos has dismissed the ‘no case’ submission filed by a former director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and others.
The court held that they should go and defend themselves in the alleged N2.6 billion fraud leveled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Akpobolokemi and five other co-defendants namely: Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan and two firms, Blockz and Stonz Limited and Al-Kenzo Logistic Limited are facing charges bordering on the allegations.
The judge ordered them to enter their defence on October 30. Justice Buba said the arguments on the no-case submission by defence counsel, Joseph Nwobike (SAN) was without merit and upheld EFCC’s argument through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who maintained that a prima facie case had been established against the defendants.
On December 4, 2015 the EFCC arraigned the defendants on a 22-count charge of diverting N2.6b from NIMASA coffers between December 2013 and May 2015.
The anti-graft agency claimed that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan approved the release of the funds for the implementation of a security project.
The alleged offences contravene Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
The defendants pleaded not guilty as the prosecution closed the case after calling 12 witnesses.
But the defendants, rather than open their defence, filed no-case submissions, claiming that the EFCC failed to link their clients with the alleged funds diversion.
Meanwhile, A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed November 30, 2017 for hearing of pending applications in a $1 million fraud case against Fred Ajudua by the EFCC.
The presiding judge, Justice Josephine Oyefeso, adjourned the case till November 30 after the submission of Ajudua’s counsel, Alex Agbaka, who informed the court of a pending application in which the defendant prayed the court to quash the charges against him.
The EFCC had in the charge claimed that Ajudua, an alleged serial fraudster and one Joseph Ochunor an accomplice, had sometimes in 1993 defrauded one Ziad Abu Zalaf, a German of Technical International Ltd of $1 million
In his submission, Agbaka told the court that he had filed the application on May 9, 2017 and had served same on the prosecution.
The EFCC counsel, Seidu Atteh, told the court that the commission had filed their response, adding that defendant’s counsel noticed that there was a mistake, so they decided to file another response.
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