A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere has dismissed an application by a former Director -General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi challenging its jurisdiction to entertain his trial.
Akpobolokemi, is standing trial, alongside five others, on a 13- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of funds to the tune of N687, 294, 680 (Six Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Naira). His co-accused persons are: Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche; Governor Amechee Juan; Vincent Udoye, Captain Ade Sahib Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Justice R.I.B Adebiyi threw out Akpobolokemi’s suit challenging the jurisdiction of the court, stressing that the application lacked merit. “This court finds preliminary objections raised by 1st and 4th defendants/ applicants to lack merit, both preliminary objections are accordingly dismissed”, he said.
Counsel to Akpobolokemi, Joseph Nwobike, SAN, while arguing against the jurisdiction of the court to try his client, hinged his objection on the fact that, “only the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and cases arising from, pertaining to, or connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies”. He was joined by counsel to the fourth defendant, A. Ige Asemudara who also brought an application for preliminary objection before the court. All the applications have now been dismissed by the court.
Justice Adebiyi subsequently adjourned the matter till 14, 20 April and 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 13 May, 2016 for trial.