Corruption and Underdevelopment

Witness to testify electronically in NIMASA ex-DG’s alleged N754.8 million fraud trial

By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, Abuja

Trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and Ezekiel Bala Agaba, before Justice R.I.B. Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, for an alleged N754.8 million fraud continued on Monday, May 9, 2022, with the trial judge upholding the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to have its next witness who is based in the United States of America testify through electronic means.

During the last sitting on March 18, 2022, the prosecution had approached the Court with the application.

The prosecuting counsel, Kufre Uduak, told the Court that the witness, one Charles Aroawode Oboh, a Director in Aroward Nigeria Limited, is based in the United States of America.

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He said, “The prosecution is seeking an order granting leave to call the witness based in the United States of America to testify through electronic means; and for such other order, as this Honourable Court may deem fit, to make in the circumstance.”

The counsel for the second defendant, E.D. Onyeke, had opposed the application arguing that “it will be prejudicial, as he is not situated within jurisdiction.”

“We believe his evidence could be manipulated,” Onyeke added, as he prayed the Court to dismiss the application.

However, delivering the ruling today, the Judge dismissed the opposition of the defence as lacking in merit, and granted the prayers of the prosecution.

The case has been adjourned till June 30, 2022 for continuation of trial.

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