By Press Unit
Justice R.I.B Adebiyi of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, March 24, 2023, adjourned till May 5, 2023 for ruling on the No-case submission filed by the duo of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and Ezekiel Bala Agaba, a former Executive Director, NIMASA, who are standing trial for an alleged 754.8 million naira fraud.
Akpobolokemi and Agaba were initially charged alongside Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Ekene Nwakuche, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited, before the charge was amended to involve only both of them.
At today’s proceedings, the defence counsel, Collins Ogbonna and E.D. Onyeke, separately, adopted the final written addresses of their clients and also urged the court to uphold the no-case submissions of their clients.
They further urged the court to hold that the prosecution had not made a prima facie case against the defendants that would necessitate them taking to the dock to defend themselves.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, while adumbrating on the response of the prosecution, urged the court to rely on the evidence placed before it by the prosecution as well as the testimony of the 12 witnesses called.
Oyedepo also urged the court to dismiss the no-case submissions of the defendants as lacking in merit. “The evidence before my lord establishes the essential ingredients of conspiracy, stealing and forgery,” he said, adding that even “the second defendant admitted the essential ingredients of the offence: the conspiracy to steal and the conspiracy to forge document.”
He added: “His statement contains a confession, which contains no further documentary evidence for your lordship to make a finding of facts, substantively.”
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submissions as lacking in merit, and to order the defendants to open their defence as “they have a lot of explanations to make.”
Justice Adebiyi adjourned till Friday, May 5, 2023 for ruling.
EFCC Re-arraigns Ex- PDP Chairman’s Son, One Other for Alleged 2.2 Billion Naira Oil Subsidy Fraud
Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, March 24, 2023, arraigned one Mamman Nasir Ali, son of Ahmadu Ali, a former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and one Christian Taylor before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged N2.2 billion oil subsidy fraud.
They were arraigned alongside Nasaman Oil Services Limited on an amended 49-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, contrary to Section 8 and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; obtaining money by false pretences, contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; forgery, contrary to Section 363 (3)(j) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011; and use of false documents contrary to Section 364 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
They pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges preferred against them.
They were initially standing trial before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.
However, Justice Onigbanjo withdrew from the case on health grounds, prompting the re-assignment of the case to Justice Dada.
Following their pleas, the prosecution counsel, S.K. Atteh, prayed the court for a trial date to enable the prosecution call its witnesses and tender necessary documents to prove the case against them.
The defence counsel, Kolade Obafemi, however, applied to the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail already granted to them by Justice Onigbanjo.
“We crave your lordship’s indulgence that the existing bail granted to the defendants be allowed to continue,” he said.
In response, Atteh noted that what was most paramount for the prosecution was the attendance of the defendants to face trial.
“Our interest is that the defendants attend trial; and so, we leave the decision to the discretion of this Honourable Court,” he said.
The defence counsel could not immediately present the bail papers of the defendants to the court, though he furnished the court with the earlier court rulings of Justice Onigbanjo with regard to the bail applications.
“I need to see the bail papers,” Justice Dada insisted.
In the instance, Justice Dada ordered that the defendants be remanded at the EFCC custody till the bail papers are presented to the court and a formal application for the bail of the defendants is filed.
The case has been adjourned till May 29 to 31, 2023 for trial.
EFCC Arrests 15 Alleged Internet Fraudsters In Benin City
Fifteen suspected internet fraudsters were on Friday, March 24, 2023, arrested by operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Benin City.
The suspects were arrested in an early morning operation following actionable intelligence on their alleged criminal activities.
They are Lucky Igbinosa, Godwin Destiny, Sylvanus God’sgift, Davidson Enabulele, Anuge Michael, Favour Uwaifo, Osemwingie Osarenmwinda, Prince Chukwuka and Liroy Nwanochie. Others are Uwaifo Osamudiamen, Christopher Dickson, Ehis Samson, Wisdom Peter, Akenuwa Kelvin and Godstime Okolie.
Items recovered from them include one Mercedes Benz C350, one Lexus ES 300 and one Lexus RX 330, mobile phones and Laptops.
The suspects have made useful statements and will be charged to court.
Convicted Nigerian Fugitive Extradited To U.S. Over Offer, Payment of Illegal Remuneration
A Convicted Nigerian fugitive, Florence Enwerim Onyegbu, was on Thursday, March 23, 2023, extradited to the United States of America, USA, where she is wanted to answer to criminal charges bordering on violation of the U.S. Law involving the offer and payment of illegal remuneration in a health care matter.
Her extradition was coordinated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, following a request by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, seeking assistance for her apprehension.
Investigations by the EFCC revealed that she had changed her name from Florence E. Onyegbu to Janet Boi in an attempt to remain hidden.
She, however, ran out of luck when operatives of the EFCC swooped on her at her residence in the Ojodu area of Lagos on February 21, 2022.
Upon her arrest, a national identity card with the name Janet Boi as well as a Texas driver’s license with the name Florence Enwerim Onyegbu were found on her.
The Commission, on March 22, 2023, handed over Onyegbu to the FBI, following an extradition order granted by Justice Z.B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on December 2, 2022.
Onyegbu’s travails began after she was arrested on February 12, 2011 in the U.S. and subsequently sentenced to 46 months imprisonment, following a guilty plea , over the violation of the U.S. Law bordering on the offer and payment of illegal remuneration in a health care matter.
Although she was ordered to report for service of her sentence on April 4, 2011, she failed to surrender on that date.
Consequently, she was further charged with failure to surrender for service of sentence in violation of U.S. Law on March 4, 2013.
@views exclusive rights: Press Unit, Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, March 24-25, 2023.