There was confusion and commotion today, in a manner reminiscence of an action packed western movie as the detachment of mobile policemen accompanied by Economic and Financial Crime commission (EFCC) operatives stormed the premises of Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria to effect the arrest of the former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi.
The embattled former Director General of NIMASA who has been arraigned before two different courts of the federal high court on charges of stealing and conversion of money running into billions of naira was just coming from a court presided over by justice Ibrahim Buba, where one the cases was adjourned till 18th January, 2016 for trial and was about to enter his car outside the court when he was accosted by two EFCC operatives and two armed mobile policemen.
Thereafter the encounter degenerated to a scuffle, the armed policemen then called for reinforcement, when he resisted arrest and tried to overpower them, the mobile policemen, about four who have been in hiding came out to join their colleagues.
They then overpowered him and forcefully bundled him into a waiting Kombi bus and whisked him away to the bewilderment and astonishment of his lawyers who helplessly watched the whole scenario.
Prior the incident, Justice Ibrahim Buba had adjourned till 18th January for the trial of the accused person to commence, after Dr Joseph Nwobike SAN leading seven other lawyers, on behalf of other counsels appearing for three other accused persons urged the court to adjourn the case to enable them study the case file since they have just being briefed, noting that, the EFCC have just served them addition proof of evidence in the open court today.
The EFCC prosecutor Mr Festus Keyamo did not raise any objection.
In the first case Akpobolokemi was arraigned with three other accused persons and three companies over an alleged stealing and conversion of N2,659,457,666.00.
In a twenty-two count criminal charge number FHC/L/511C/15 signed and filed before the court by the EFCC prosecutor Barrister Festus Keyamo, it was alleged that Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Amechee Juan with intent to defraud and conspire together to induce the Federal Government of Nigeria to approve and deliver to NIMASA the sum of #2,659,457,666.60 under the false pretense that the said sum represented the cost for the implementation of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) code in Nigeria Ports thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 8(a) 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraaud Related Offences Act,2006.
All the accused persons were also alleged to have conspired with these three companies BLOCK AND STONZ LTD, KENZO LOGISTICS LIMITED, AND AL-KENZO LOGISTICS LTD to commit the offence thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the money laundering Act 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same act.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty, consequently Dr Joseph Nwobike SAN leading seven other lawyers while arguing their bail application urged the court to admit them to bail on the ground that they are presume innocent until they are found guilty.
They were admitted to bail in the sum of #50 million with one surety who must possess landed property worth #50million the accused must deposit their international passport with the court as the are also ban from travelling outside the country.