687mln Naira Scam: Akpobolokemi Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Akpobolokemi--NIMASAA former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, to entertain his trial.

Defence Counsel of Mr Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, on Monday questioned the competence of the court to preside over the case.

Mr Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside five others on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds, to the tune of 687, 294, 680 Naira.

His co-accused persons are Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

Nwobike hinged his objection to the jurisdiction of the court on claims that, “only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and cases arising from, pertaining to, or connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies”.

He was joined by Counsel to the fourth defendant, Ige Asemudara, who also brought an application for preliminary objection before the court.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, ordered the Defense Counsels to consolidate their applications.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, brought two witnesses to court for commencement of trial but could not present them, owing to the preliminary objection to the court’s jurisdiction by the defence.

Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned the matter till March 9 for arguments on pending applications before the court.

Court Fixes February 29 For Trial Of Ex-NIMASA Boss, Others

nimasaThe trial of a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and 6 others did not go on at the Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere Area of Lagos Island on Wednesday.

The court failed to sit and nobody could ascertain why.

The court’s list however indicated that the trial has now been fixed for February 29.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the men before Justice Raliat Adebiyi on January 25 on a 13 count charge of forgery & stealing about N754.7 million.

The EFCC specifically accused the defendants of converting to their personal use a sum of N346.8m released to them by NIMASA, a sum meant for the implementation of Voluntary International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme.

They were also accused of forging a document of “request for payment as consultant for VIMSAS services” with an intent to commit fraud.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 409 and punishable under Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The defendants had all pleaded not guilty and Justice Adebiyi had granted the former NIMASA boss and 4 other accused persons bail in the sum of N‎20 million with two sureties in like sum.

The last two accused persons got bail in the sum of N2m with two sureties in like sum.

The other accused persons are Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.