The prosecution of former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others over N754, 740,680.00 fraud related suit, at Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, could not go ahead Wednesday.
Justice Raliat Adebiyi ruled that Marcel Umeh, a counsel in the chambers of Keyamo, did not have the fiat of the Attorney-General of the Federation through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute the defendants.
According to the Judge, “If Keyamo has a fiat from the Attorney-General to prosecute this matter and Oyedepo, an employee of the EFCC, also has the authority to prosecute, it does not apply to Marcel.
“Marcel is only Keyamo’s employee and not that of the EFCC.
“Marcel is a private legal practitioner and he cannot prosecute this matter as a private legal practitioner.”
The EFCC was billed to continue its trial of the defendants on Wednesday afternoon and it was expected that its regular counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, would appear in court.
However, Oyedepo was not available when the matter was called and Umeh announced his appearance for the prosecution.
“I’m ready to go on and I have my witnesses,” he stated.
Umeh was then interrupted from calling his first witness by counsel to the second defendant, E. D. Onyeke, who observed that Umeh had no authority to prosecute the case on behalf of the government or Keyamo.
He said: “Mr. Marcel Umeh works in Festus Keyamo’s Chambers and not the Ministry of Justice or the EFCC.
Onyeke informed the court that he had earlier been notified by Oyedepo that he would not be available and that the case would not continue on Wednesday.
The Judge then adjourned the case till April 3 for continuation of trial.
Akpobolokemi is standing trial on a 13-count charge bordering on stealing and forgery.
His co-defendants are Capt. Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Amechee Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Adegboyega Sahib Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.