By Innocent Anaba
The ongoing trial of a former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and five others, was, yesterday, adjourned to February 28, for cross examination of a last prosecution’s witness.
Akpobolokemi, a former DG of NIMASA, was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside five others, on 22 counts bordering on the offence.
Others charged are Captain Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Juan, as well as Blockz and Stonz Ltd, Kenzo Logistics Ltd and Al-Kenzo Logistic Ltd.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have converted to their use, a total of N2.6 billion between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (1), 15 (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012.
The trial of the accused was earlier slated for January 9 to 13, for the defence counsel to cross examine the 11th witness for the EFCC, Mr Chukwuma Orji, as well as for continuation of trial.
However, yesterday, the witness, was absent from court, following his trip to the United Kingdom with the acting DG of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, for a meeting with the National Crime Agency, NCA.
Counsel representing the prosecution, Mr Marcel Umeh, informed the court that he was informed very late, adding that all inconveniences were regretted.
In response, one of the defence counsels, Mr Edoka Onyeke expressed dissatisfaction with the adjournment and prayed the court to issue a date in February, which will be convenient for all parties.
Other defence counsel, aligned themselves with the submissions of Onyeke.
In his ruling, Justice Ibrahim Buba also expressed regrets over the adjournment on the grounds that he had ensured his punctuality in court, to attend to the sole case on his diary, even though the day marked his birthday.
“I am 59 years old today and I am here in court prepared to go on with the matter hoping we would make progress. If I had this idea that the court will not sit then I wouldn’t have bothered,
“This is the only case listed in my diary for the week and I came here with the hope that there would be a remarkable progress,” he said
Following agreement from counsel present in court, the case was consequently adjourned to February 28 for cross examination of the last witness for the prosecution.