Justice R.I.B. Adebiyi of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja Friday reserved ruling for 6th May 2022 on an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking to have its next witness, who is based in the United States of America, testify through electronic means.
A former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi and Ezekiel Bala Agaba are standing trial before the court on an alleged Seven Hundred and Fifty-Four Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira (N754.800) only fraud.
The defendants, who are alleged to have defrauded NIMASA, were initially charged alongside Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Ekene Nwakuche, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd. before the charge was amended to involve only the two defendants.
At Friday’s sitting, the prosecuting counsel, Kufre Uduak, moved a motion seeking the witness, one Charles Aroawode Oboh, a Director in Aroward Nigeria Limited based in the United States of America, to give evidence through electronic means.
“The prosecution is seeking an order granting leave to call the witness based in the United States of America to testify through electronic means; and for such other order, as this Honourable Court may deem fit, to make in the circumstance,” he said.
Counsel for the first defendant, Collins Ogbonna, did not object to the application.
However, counsel for the second defendant, E.D. Onyeke, opposed the application in his counter-affidavit and further argued that “it will be prejudicial, as he is not situated within jurisdiction.”
“We believe his evidence could be manipulated,” Onyeke added, as he prayed the court to dismiss the application.
In response, the prosecution argued that “the objection on the point of manipulation is only an assumption.”
“We urge this Honourable Court to discountenance the submissions of the defence and grant our prayers,” Uduak said.
After listening to the arguments, Justice Adebiyi adjourned till 6th May 2022, for ruling.