The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, separated the charges filed against former boss of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi and eight others from that of Government Ekpemupolo (also known as Tompolo).
The separation of the charge, which left out Mr. Ekpemupolo from the original charge, was to allow for the arraignment of Tompolo at a later date, when he is eventually arrested, contrary to an earlier report that he was arraigned on Tuesday in absentia. The formal arraignment of Tompolo has been continuously stalled due to the inability of the EFCC to arrest him.
It will be recalled that at the last court sitting, last month, Festus Keyamo, counsel to the EFCC, requested for an adjournment to enable him separate the charges, leaving out Tompolo, who would face a separate charge when arrested. Those arraigned on Tuesday were Akpobolokemi and eight others over an alleged N35 billion fraud. In the new charge, Mr. Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu and Captain Warredi Enisuoh, are accused of conspiracy to commit fraud between 2012 and 2015.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty. The defendants’ lawyers prayed the court to grant their clients bail “in the most liberal terms.”
Mr. Keyamo did not oppose the bail applications. “Because the accused persons are already on bail in another charge before this court, I pray my Lord to grant them bail in a condition good enough to enable them attend this trial,”
Mr. Keyamo said. Justice Ibrahim Buba granted bail to all the defendants, except Mr. Enisuoh, in the sum of N50 million with “one reliable surety in like sum.”