By G9ija

The trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and three others for an alleged N8.5billion fraud continued on Tuesday, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), presenting its seventh witness.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside Major-General Emmanuel Atewe (rtd.), a former Commander of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, and two other staff of the agency, Kime Engozu and Josphine Otuaga.

They are standing trial on an amended 22 counts bordering on money laundering, before Justice Ayokunle Faaji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

One of the counts read: “That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu, and Josphine Otuaga sometimes in 2014, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the sum of N8,537,586,798.58 property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thereby prompting the commencement of their trial.

At the resumed sitting today, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented the seventh prosecution witness, (PW7), Moses Ngbekan, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Plc.

While being led in evidence by Oyedepo, the witness confirmed that the EFCC and Zenith Bank Plc had shared correspondences with respect to the case.

Ngbekan further identified some exhibits before the Court, including the account opening package, statements of account and the instruments of transaction used to perpetrate the alleged crime, stating that the documents emanated from Zenith Bank Plc.

The case has been adjourned till November 17 for continuation of trial.