The absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, who is prosecuting the former Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Patrick Ziadeke Akpolobokemi and seven others, stalled the continuation of trial of the accused persons at an Igbosere High Court of Lagos state.
Also failure of a lawyer from Festus Keyamo’s Chamber, Mr. Marcel Umeh, to produce a ‘Fiat’ to prosecute the accused equally halted the Wednesday’s proceedings.
Akpobolokemi was charged with N754.7 million theft of NIMASA money.
Akpolobokemi alongside Captain Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Captain Sahib, Olopoenia and a company Gama Marine Nigeria Limited, are standing trial on a 13-count charge bordering on stealing and forgery.
The case which was scheduled for continuation of trial could not go following opposition to the appearance of Umeh by lawyers to the accused persons, who informed the court that a private lawyer could not prosecute a matter that belongs to the Attorney-General of the federation.
The lawyers which led by Mr E. D. Onyeke, Ige Asemudara, and others told the court that Umeh was a private practitioner who does not have the Fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to prosecute the case.
They stated that Umeh, was a staff of Mr Festus Keyamo, adding that Keyamo who has the Fiat but could not delegate such powers to any of his staff.
“If Keyamo has the Fiat, it does not apply to Umeh, it is a knwon fact that only the AG can delegate such powers to an individual and not to the firm of that individual.
They further stated that any proceedings effected by Umeh would amount to a nullity, therefore, it would be for the interest of Justice to avoid any procedural errors.
They said “Umeh cannot appear in this case because he does not have the Fiat and does not work for the Federal Government.
“If he produces a Fiat, we can proceed with today’s proceedings, we urge my lord to refuse the appearance of Umeh in this case.”
Umeh, however, admitted that he was not given the Fiat but argued that it was only the AGF who could question the appreance of a lawyer who was not with the Fiat and not the counsel on the other side.
In a bench ruling, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, consequently, said “Umeh, cannot handle this case without producing the Fiat, for this reason, this case cannot go on.
“This case will continue until Keyamo or any other counsel from EFCC come to prosecute it.
She, however, adjourned the case till May 3 for continuation of trial.
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