Judge set Dec. 14 for Ex-NIMASA DG, warns parties against unnecessary delays

Posted by News Express | 8 December 2015 | 2,879 times

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has warned lawyers representing the former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpolobokemi, and five others not to delay the trial of the accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba handed down the warning after their lawyers gave the court different reasons for seeking for an adjournment of the accused persons’ trial.

Counsel to the defendant had been unable to perfect his bail conditions since Friday, and this had made it impossible for them to confer and discuss how to conduct his defence. He therefore asked the court for a very short adjournment.

Counsel representing the second accused person in the case, Mr. Madu Paschal, in seeking for the adjournment of his client’s trial, said he was preparing for a burial which had not made him prepare for the trial.

The counsel to the third, fifth & sixth accused persons, Mr Lanre Olayinka was absent in court. Through a letter he informed the court that he had travelled abroad for a medical appointment.

The Counsel representing the fourth accused person, Mr. Asemugara, on his part sought for an adjournment due to a preliminary application he had filed before the court to challenge its jurisdiction.

In responding to the submissions of the accused persons’ lawyers, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, urged the court to discountenance the request for an adjournment and proceed with trial. He told the court that his witnesses were ready to testify.

In a ruling on the adjournment sought by the accused persons, Justice Buba drew the attention of the lawyers to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which mandates a day-to-day trial of criminal proceedings. He warned that he would not entertain any request aimed at frustrating the trial.

He said that he was forced to adjourn only to enable the third accused person find another lawyer to represent him.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter till December 14, for definite hearing.

The immediate past Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi and five accused persons were arraigned last week Friday by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds, abuse of office and money laundering.

They allegedly exploited the establishment of International Ship and Ports Security (ISPS) code to defraud the Nigerian government to the tune of over N2.5billion. (Channels TV)

•Photo shows Ex-NIMASADG, Akpolobokemi.

Source: News Express

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