Ex NIMASA DG Akpobolokemi Pleads Not Guilty.

....Akpobolokemi Calls For No Case-Submission.

The lingering N2.6b fraud case filed against the former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reached a no case-submission.

The no case-submission as filed at the Federal High Court by the defence counsel is as a result of Mr. Akpobolokemi's arraignment by the EFCC for allegedly diverting N2.6b from NIMASA coffers between 20th Dec. 2013 and May 2015. The crime watchdog claims the sum was approved by the former President Goodluck Jonathan for a security project.

The accused who pleaded not guilty to a 22 count charge had the prosecution reopening the case. A total of 12 witnesses with 77 exhibits were tendered in a move to establish the case.

According to source, after the prosecution closed its case the defence counsel filed a no case-submission contending that the opposition failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused to warrant entering any defence. They urged the court to therefore uphold a no case-submission and discharge the accused.

While delivering the ruling, the presiding Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba informed that a plethora of cases had been cited by the learned counsel in arguing their application for a no case-submission. In his words:

"There are a plethora of cases listed by Counsel but the court is enjoined not to write its ruling as if it is writing its final judgement but must keep its ruling as short as possible.

"When a judge is faced with a ruling on a no-case submission, it is permissible for the ruling to be brief and simply read: 'you have a case to answer.'

"Consequently, the no case-submission fails and is hereby overruled," he affirmed.

The court has adjourned the case to Oct. 30, Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 for the defence to open its case.

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