…As NSCDC nabs 32 year-old suspected fraudster in Borno***
The absence of the convicted Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Joseph Nwobike, on Wednesday stalled the trial of ex-NIMASA D-G, Patrick Akpobolokemi, before a Federal High Court, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Nwobike, who is the counsel to Mr Akpobolokemi, was convicted of criminal charges on April 30 by Justice Raliat Adebiyi for attempting to pervert the course of Justice.
He was sentenced by Justice Adebiyi to a month imprisonment for the offence.
Mr Akpobolokemi, a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is being charged for N8.5 billion fraud.
Also joined in the suit are a former Military Commander of the Niger-Delta Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield, Emmanuel Atewe, and two other staffs of the agency, Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga.
The defendants are being tried before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
When the case came up on Wednesday, there was no legal representation for Akpobolokemi, but Chidinma Okoronkwo appeared for the second accused while Adamu Ibrahim appeared for the third and fourth accused.
The judge, Ayokunle Faji, consequently, adjourned the case until June 26, for continuation of trial.
Mr Faji said, while adjourning the case that: “In view of the issue surrounding legal representation of the first defendant, this case will be adjourned until June 26.”
The judge ordered that the date be communicated to the representative of EFCC, who was not also in court.
Mr Akpobolokemi and others are being accused of diverting N8.5 billion from Operation Pulo Shield between Sep. 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015, through some companies.
The companies are Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.
The accused had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.
In the meantime, the Borno command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Wednesday said it had arrested a 32 year-old man who allegedly tricked people and deprived them of their money.
Commandant of the Corps, Ibrahim Abdullahi, who stated this, gave the name of the suspect as Ali Goni, who was arrested at London Ciki area of Maiduguri.
He said Goni was nabbed after one of his victims, Muhammad Kawu, reported the activities of the suspect to the command.
.”The fraudsters told his victim to get a special detergent and some herbal perfumes that would be used to appeased spirits, and that thereafter, N1.5 billion would be available for sharing.
“He subsequently collected N130, 000 from his victim, claiming the amount wouldl be used to appease the spiritual goddess to released the N1.5 million,” he said.
Abdullahi who decried the activities of fraudsters disguising as ‘saviours’, warned people to be wary of such characters.
“The victim was working with a non-governmental organization but the suspect deceived him to quit the job, promising him the N1.5 billion,” said the Commandant.
Narrating what happened, the victim (Kawu) said he was approached by Goni, who promised to provide him with money.
“I have been visiting him for the last four months; he told me we needed to have the ‘Elephant Blue Detergent’ to wash the money; I searched everywhere but could not get such type of detergent.
“He later requested for a lot of money; it was then I realised that I was being defrauded by him,” he said.
Goni, the suspect, confessed that he tricked his victim under the pretext of making money for him.
Goni said he took advantage of the young man because he was desperate to make money.
“I have made great mistake, I am begging for his forgiveness,” he said.