Court dismisses N8.5bn Fraud case against Ex-NIMASA DG


The Federal High Court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, from an alleged 8.5 billion Naira fraud case.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, on Monday, cleared Akpobolokemi and an employee of NIMASA, Josphine Otuaga, of the 22-count charge of conspiracy, conversion, and stealing (by fraudulent conversion) brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The judge, while delivering a ruling on a no-case submission filed by the defendants, held that the EFCC failed to establish sufficient evidence in the case against the duo.

However, the court ordered the former Commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield, Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd) and an employee of NIMASA, Kime Engonzu, to open their defence.

Akpobolokemi had, in a no-case submission filed by his lawyer, Joseph Nwobike, SAN, asked the court for an acquittal without having him present a defence.

The defense counsel had also argued that the prosecution, with all its witnesses and evidence tendered while making its case, failed to link his client to the alleged crimes.

In his ruling, Justice Faji held that none of the witnesses called by the Prosecution led any shred of evidence linking the first defendant and the fourth defendant to the offences they were charged with.

The court held that having regard to the totality of evidence led by the prosecution failed to provide any credible evidence linking the first defendant with the commission of the alleged crimes against him in Counts 1-11 of the first amended charge and established a prima facie case against him warranting him to enter upon his defence.

Justice Faji, therefore, held that if there was no sufficient evidence linking the accused with the statutory elements and ingredients, a court of trial must, as a matter of law, discharge him

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