The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday withdraws charges against the Chairman of Ndokwa Local Government Area of Delta State, Juan Amechee Governor and Ekene Nwakuche, both accused of laundering N2.6 billion.
But the anti-graft agency rearraigned a former Executive Director, of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Ezekiel Bala Agaba on an amended charge of alleges fraud of N1.7 billion.
They were all arraigned before the court in 2015 by the EFCC alongside the former Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi.
But it will be recalled that the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal had discharged and acquitted Akpolobokemi of alleged illegal conversion of public fund to the tune of N2.6 billion.
Akpobolokemi, Captain Agaba, Amechee and Nwakuche alongside two limited liability companies, Blockz and Stonez Nigeria Limited and Al-Kenzo Nigeria Limited, were arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba on alleged conspiracy, stealing, unlawful conversion and money laundering.
In the former charge marked FHC/L/511c/15, EFCC alleged that Akpolobokemi alongside Captain Ezekiel Bala Agaba; Ekene Nwakuche and Governor Ameche Juan, had on or about February 4, 2014, did conspired among themselves to commit the act by converting the said sum, property of NIMASA, which was derived from stealing.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo informed Justice Ibrahim Buba that the prosecution has filed an amended charge before the court and that the amended charge have been served on the defendants.
He therefore prayed the court to allow the charge to be read so that the defendant could take his plea.
In the amended charge, Captain Agaba, now the only defendant, was alleged to have between December 23, 2013 and March 13, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the court converted through Seabulk Offshore Operator Limited the sum of N44 million property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency which sum he reasonably ought to known form part of proceeds of his unlawful activity to wit; criminal breach of trust and thereby committed and offence contrary to section 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
Agaba was also alleged to have on or about January 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the court converted through Ace Protehesis Limited the sum of N66 million property of NIMASA which sum he reasonably ought to know form part of proceed of his unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and there by committed and offence contrary to section 15(2) of the money laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
The Defendant was also alleged to have between August 26, 2014 in Lagos unlawfully converted the sum of N21 million.
And between February 4 and March 13, 2014 he allegedly converted another sum of N402, 480, 000.00 an offence punishable under the same Act.
Agaba was also alleged to have also on about the 6th day of November 2014 converted through Extreme Vertex Nigeria Limited Property of NIMASA the sum N525, 000, 000.00.
He was further alleged to have on February 12, 2015 converted though Aroward Consulting Limited another sum of N70,000.000.00 property of NIMASA an offence punishable under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
Count seven of the charge alleged that the defendant on or about the 28th May , 2015 in Lagos converted through Aroward Consulting Limited converted the sum of N176, 000,000.00 property of NIMASA , the offence is said to be contrary to section 15(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act , 2011 as Amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
Agaba however pleaded not guilty to the seven count charge and was allowed to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted to him by the court.
Meanwhile, Justice Buba had adjourned the matter to December 2 for continuation of trial.