The Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, has re-arraigned former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and former commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF’s Operation Pulo Shield, Emmanuel Atewe over N8.5 billion alleged fraud.
Both men were re-arraigned alongside two staff of NIMASA, Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga, before Justice A.O Faji of a Federal High Court, Lagos on a 22-count bothering on money laundering.
Their re-arraignment became necessary after the initial trial judge, Saliu Saidu, was transferred from Lagos to the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High court.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges, after which the defence counsels asked the court to allow the accused persons to continue enjoying the earlier bail granted them.
Justice Faji granted the request and subsequently fixed February 13 and 17 for commencement of trial.
The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiring to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using six companies.
At the last adjourned date, the anti- graft agency had examined a prosecution witness, Adamu Yusuf, who told the court how the accused converted about N4.9 billion belonging to NIMASA into dollars.
The witness had told the court that the accused used different companies and accounts to launder billions of money from the account of the Joint Task Force operation.