A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday heard how a former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, acquired a bulletproof car for his personal use.
Former DG of NIMASA, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi (centre) being led out of court after his arraignment by EFCC in Lagos, yesterday
An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, Orji Chukwuma, made this known during his testimony on the matter.
Akpobolokemi is standing trial on a five-count charge of allegedly defrauding NIMASA of N2.6 billion between March and June 2014.
He was arraigned alongside, Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Blockz and Stonz Ltd. and Al-Kenzo Logistics Ltd. before Justice Ibrahim Buba on Dec. 4, 2015, and they all pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed hearing, Chukwuma tendered documents how he acquired the car and also paid for his rented apartment situated in Ondo Street, Banana Island, Lagos.
Led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said “the first accused (Akpobolokemi) brought a document to us in relation to how he paid for his rented apartment on Ondo Street, Banana Island, Lagos.
Chukwuma also attached a document from an estate surveyor on payments of his house rent.
He further told the court that Akpobolokemi also submitted to the commission a receipt for the purchase of a bulletproofed car.
Consequently, EFCC lawyer tendered the documents and urged the court to mark them as exhibits.
But, M M Ajuwa, Counsel to Akpobolokemi, objected to the admissibility of the documents on the grounds that he was not served with the documents.
Ajuwa argued that the documents sought to be tendered ought to have been front-loaded in line with section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
In his ruling, Justice Ibrahim Buba, held that “it is sacrosanct that every accused person shall be given opportunity to defend himself and must be served with necessary documents including documents he (accused) submitted to the EFCC”.
Buba subsequently adjourned the case till Oct, 26 for continuation of trial. EFCC had alleged that Akpobolokemi and others converted for private use N2.6 billion belonging to NIMASA.
The offences contravened Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition/Amendment) Act of 2012 The prosecution said that on or about February 2014 in Lagos, the accused persons conspired among themselves to converted N437 million belonging to NIMASA.
They were alleged to have on Jan. 9, 2014 converted to their private use N66,800.000 property of NIMASA and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (3)of the Money Laundering Act, 2012.
The accused were further alleged to have between April and August, 2014 converted to their own use N21,802,000 and additional N53,749,000.00 respectively. When the charge was read to them, they all pleaded not guilty to the charge.