The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today arraigned in absentia, former Delta militant Government Oweize Ekemupolo (aka Tompolo) and eight other suspects before a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

However the plea of Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and four other accused persons and seven companies, were taken.  They were named as: Kime Engozu, Josephine Otuaga, Rita Uruakpa, Mieke Dive Training Institute, Oyeinteke Global Network Ltd., Wabod Global Resources.Ltd, Boloboere Properties Estate Ltd, Gokaid Marine Oil and Gas Ltd, Muhaabix Global Services Ltd, and Watershed Associated Resources.

Arraigned along with Tompolo in absentia were: Pondi Ebimorbowei Kestin, Igo Akpobolokemi, Julius Akpobolokemi, Stephen Akpolobokemi, Victor Akpobolokemi, Norbert Akpobolokemi, Emmanuel Ebizimo Akpobolokemi, Clement Akpobolokemi.

In a 22-count criminal charge filed before the court by EFCC prosecutor Festus Keyamo, the agency alleged that between the 11th of April 2014 and the 23th of February 2015, the suspects, with intent to defraud, conspired to commit offence , namely: obtaining the sum of N47,693,464,822.00, property of NIMASA, using false pretences.  The prosecution listed in the conspiracy Kpolobokemi, Engozu, Otuaga; along with Uruakpa Pondi Ebimorbowei Kestin, Igo Akpobolokemi, Julius Akpobolokemi, Stephen Akpolobokemi, Victor Akpobolokemi, Norbert Akpobolokemi, Emmanuel Ebizimo Akpobolokemi, Clement Akpobolokemi, all at large; as well as Mike Dive Training Institute, Oyeinteke Global Network Ltd., Wabod Global Resources.Ltd, Boloboere Properties Estate Ltd, Gokaid Marine Oil and Gas Ltd, Muhaabix Global Services Ltd, and Watershed Associated Resources.

They were also alleged to have obtained the money by falsely pretending to the Federal Government of Nigeria that all the land and its appurtenances at Mieka Dive Training Institute in Kurutie Warri South West Local Government area of Delta State, to be acquired by NIMASA for the temporary campus of the Nigeria Maritime University, in Okerenkoro, Warri, was free from any encumbrances, knowing that representation to be false.

All the offences committed by the accused persons, the EFCC asserted, are contrary to, and punishable under Sections (1) 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and the other Fraud related offences act, 2006.

All the suspects pleaded not guilty, and Joseph Nwobike, leading nine other lawyers in defence of all the suspects urged the court to grant them bail under the same conditions as in the other criminal cases they are standing trial.  Mr. Keyamo did not raise any objection, but he told the court that the sureties should not  be the same persons as in the other cases.

Judge Ibrahim Buba adjourned the case till May 30, 2016 for trial.  He ordered that Patrick Akpobolokemi and Kime Engosu should continue on their former bail, while Josephine Otuaga and Rita Uruakpa were admitted to bail in the sum of N50million with one surety each, who must be owners of landed property in Lagos.  The suspects are also to deposit their passports with the court.

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