N136m NIMASA Fraud: Court asks Calistus Obi to open defence

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A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has ordered a former Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Obi, to open his defence to charges of fraud allegations to the tune of N136 million.

Obi and Alu Dismas, who is a former personal assistant to another former DG of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, are both standing trial before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

Delivering ruling on a “no case submission application” filed by the two defendants, Justice Olatoregun held that there are legally admissible evidences against the defendants, warranting them to open their defence.

“I have only the evidence of the prosecution, and of which no reasonable court or tribunal could rule without that of the defendants.

“I have taken a look at the evidences adduced by the prosecution, and I am satisfied that there are reasons for the defendants to open their defence. There is a prima facie case against the defendants.

“The no case submission of the defendants are accordingly overruled,” the judge said.

A no-case submission means that the defendants claim that no case has been made against them and the charges as filed, show no link between the defendants and the offense committed.

The EFCC had instituted charges against the former NIMASA boss and his co-defendant before the court over the allegation but they had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were accordingly granted bail in the sum of N5 million each.

The defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on August 5, 2014.

Specifically, the defendants were said to have conspired to convert the said sum, which is the property of NIMASA, and knowing same to be proceeds of stealing.

The commission insisted that the offence contravenes the provisions of section 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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