Home News Former NIMASA Boss, Akpobolokemi Acquitted of ₦8.5bn Fraud Charges

Former NIMASA Boss, Akpobolokemi Acquitted of ₦8.5bn Fraud Charges

Patrick Akpobolokemi
Ex NIMASA Boss, Patrick Akpobolokemi

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has acquitted and discharged Patrick Akpobolokemi, the former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), of alleged ₦8.5bn fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Ayokunle Faji, ruling on a no-case submission filed by Akpobolokemi and one other defendant, Josephine Otuaga, in the 22-count charge, held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence linking Akpobolokemi and Otuaga to the alleged offences.

“If there is no sufficient evidence linking the accused with the statutory elements and ingredients, a court of trial must discharge him as a matter of law. It has no business searching for evidence that is nowhere and therefore cannot be found,” the judge held.

Akpobolokemi’s lawyer, Joseph Nwobike SAN, maintained that despite presenting witnesses and evidence, the prosecution failed to connect his client to the purported crimes.

The charges stemmed from Akpobolokemi’s tenure at NIMASA, where he was accused, along with others, of conspiracy, conversion, and stealing by fraudulent conversion.

However, the court found that the evidence presented did not sufficiently implicate Akpobolokemi and Otuaga.

Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (Rtd), another defendant in the case, and Kime Engonzu, a NIMASA staff, were ordered to open their defence, as the court found that they had a case to answer regarding specific counts of the charge.

With this ruling, Akpobolokemi has been discharged on four out of six charges brought against him by the EFCC.

However, two charges are still pending against him, one before Justice Bukola Adebiyi of the Lagos High Court and another before Justice Faji.

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