The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, has voided the conviction of Mr. Alu Dismas, an aide to former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NMASA, Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, in an alleged N136 million fraud case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Delivering its judgment, the justices of the court agreed with the appellant that the conviction was a nullity.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice T. Awotoye, the court greed that the prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of money laundering against Dismas.
The EFCC had on April 12, 2016 arraigned Alu and Callistus Obi (a former Executive Director of NIMASA) on an eight-count charge before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Also charged were two companies, Grand Pact Ltd and Global Seal Investment Ltd, as third and fourth defendants respectively.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that they conspired to convert money to the tune of N136million from NIMASA with knowledge that same were proceeds of crime, thus contravening the provisions of sections 15 and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering and Prohibitions (Amendment) Act, 2021.
In her judgment on May 23, 2019, Justice Olatoregun convicted Dismas and Callistus alongside the aforementioned companies having found them guilty on the charges of money laundering.
She discharged and acquitted them of the conspiracy charge.
Not satisfied with the judgment, the convicts through his lawyers approached the Court of Appeal.
Present during the judgment which was delivered via zoom is C. Z. Katung who represented the appellant while S. I. Suleiman appeared for the respondent: the EFCC.
Dr. Akpobolokemi was NIMASA DG between 2011 and 2015.