Alleged N136m Fraud: Judge's Absence Stalls Trial Of Ex-NIMASA DG

The absence of Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on Wednesday stalled continuation of trial at a Federal High Court, Lagos, of a former Acting Director General of NIMASA, Calistus Obi, charged with N 136 m fraud. On Wednesday at the resumed trial of the case, all the accused were present in court, but the case which was slated for continuation of trial at noon, was eventually called off following the judge's absence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had slammed eight counts on Obi, who was a former Executive Director, and later, acting DG of the agency. He was charged alongside Alu Dismas, who was aide to a former DG of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail in the sum of N5m each, with sureties each in like sum. At the last adjournment on February 26, the defence had called on the first accused (Obi) to give evidence in the case as a defence witness. After his evidence, the EFCC Prosecutor, Mr . Rotimi Oyedepo, had commenced cross examination of the defence witness before the court adjourned for continuation of trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EFCC had closed its case on January 31, 2017, while the defence filed a no-case submission. The court, however, dismissed the no case submission on February 21, 2017, and ordered the defence to open its case. The accused persons were alleged to have committed the offences on August 5, 2014. According to the EFCC, they conspired to convert the money , property of NIMASA, knowing full well that the money was proceeds of stealing. The offences contravened sections 15 and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Act, 2012. Continuation of trial has been fixed for March 8.
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