By Onozure Dania
Lagos—Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, dismissed the no-case submission filed by former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi
Justice Buba ordered Akpobolokemi and five others standing trial before the court to enter their defence immediately.
Akpobolokemi alongside five others are facing charged of N2.6 billion fraud, preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The judge held that the arguments on the no-case submission by the defence counsel, Joseph Nwobike, SAN, cannot hold water at this stage of trial because the prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo have through 12 prosecution witnesses establish prima- facie case against the defendants.
Justice Buba, however, adjourned the case till October 30 and 31 for defence to open their case.
The EFCC had on December 4, 2015 arraigned Akpobolokemi alongside five others, over alleged diversion of N2.6 billion from the coffers of NIMASA between December 2013, and May 2015.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the funds were approved by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for the implementation of a security project.
Also charged with Akpobolokemi were Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Ltd. and Al-Kenzo Logistic Ltd.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the 22 count charge preferred against them.
The prosecution opened its case, called 12 witnesses during trial and tendered 77 exhibits in a bid to establish its case.
The prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, had argued that the testimonies of the 12 witnesses and the 77 exhibits tendered before the court had successfully linked Akpobolokemi to the alleged fraud.
He argued that being the head and chief accounting officer of NIMASA at the time of the alleged fraud, Akpobolokemi could not by any stretch of imagination claim to be innocent.