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Court finds former NIMASA boss guilty of N136m fraud, fixes May 28 for sentencing

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THE Federal High Court, Lagos, has declared Calistus Obi, former Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), guilty of fraud.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun gave the judgement on Thursday but adjourned the matter till May 28 for the sentencing of the convicts. Meanwhile, the trial judge ordered that they should be remanded in prison custody until the next adjourned date.

This is following an eight-count corruption charge filed in 2015 against Obi and one other defendant, Dismas Alu, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Alu was an aide to the former NIMASA DG, Patrick Akpobolokemi.

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The EFCC accused the duo of conspiring to convert the sum of N136 million belonging to NIMASA to their own use, a crime which the commission said was contrary to sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned and were granted bail in the sum of N5 million each, with sureties in like sum.

The accused persons had filed a no-case submission on January 31, 2017, after the EFCC had closed its case against them, but the court dismissed the no-case submission on February 21, 2017, and ordered them to enter their defence.

In her judgement on Thursday, Justice Olatoregun declared the accused persons guilty as charged, holding that the EFCC proved its case against the accused persons beyond a reasonable doubt.

Obi became acting NIMASA DG in July 2015 after President Muhammadu Buhari removed the then DG, Patrick Akpobolokemi from office. Akpobolokemi himself is also facing separate corruption charges for offences he allegedly committed while in office.

 

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