EFCC raises fresh charges against NIMASA ex-DG, Akpobolokemi, others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday arraigned the former boss of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, and eight others on a fresh charge bordering on N35 billion fraud.
Akpobokelemi’s arraignment had been continuously stalled due to the inability of the EFCC to arrest their co-accused, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
Meanwhile, arraignment of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide on Niger Delta and Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku has been shifted to April 20 due to judge’s absenceThe court had few adjournments to enable EFCC produce Tompolo in court and even went ahead to make an arrest order against him.
When it was obvious that it would take awhile to get him arrested, counsel to the EFCC, Festus Keyamo at the last court sitting, last month, requested for an adjournment to enable him separate the charges, leaving out Mr. Ekpemupolo who would face a separate charge when arrested.
That was granted by the court, paving the way for the arraignment of the former NIMASA director general and others yesterday.
In the new charge, Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu, and Captain Warredi Enisuoh are accused of conspiracy to commit the fraud between 2012 and 2015.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. Also, counsel to the defendants prayed the court to grant their clients bail “in the most liberal terms.”Keyamo, however, did not oppose the bail applications.
He said: “Because the accused persons are already on bail in another charge before this court, I pray my Lord to grant them bail in a condition good enough to enable them attend this trial.”
Justice Ibrahim Buba granted bail to all the defendants, except Enisuoh, in the sum N50 million with one reliable surety in like sum.
Enisuoh instead received a N10 million bail with one surety. He was charged in two out of the 40 counts totalling N8 million.
The judge ruled: “The defendants who are already on bail are to perfect their bail conditions within 24 hours or be remanded in prison. Those appearing before me for the first time should perfect their bail conditions today or be remanded in prison.”
He subsequently adjourned trial till May 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th.The judge also adjourned till April 18th for the arraignment Messrs Tompolo, Akpobolokemi and 11 others in another 22 count charge bordering on fraud.
Spokesman Wilson Uwujaren also informed that Kuku was scheduled to be arraigned alongside two of his aides , the Technical Assistant on Reintegration, and Henry Nonso Ugbolue, Special Assistant, Media and Communication
The trio were said to have conspired to award contracts to companies in which Pepple and Ugbolue were sole signatories.The accused persons were to be docked on two separate charges bordering criminal conspiracy, false declaration of assets and fraudulent acquisition of property.
The charges against them include that: “Kuku and Ugbolue are alleged to have conspired among themselves and awarded contracts running into millions to companies in which they had interests. Ugbolue is the sole signatory of Great & Gamaliel Alliance Limited, the company which provided integrated management of communications and stakeholders’ engagement chain for the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta.
“Pepple is director and sole signatory for KER Global Wave limited which was awarded a contract to provide Reintegration Support Services by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta under the Presidential Amnesty Programme”,Uwujaren said.
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