The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has quashed the conviction of former Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Calistus Nwabueze Obi.
Delivering judgment on Friday, June 30, 2023 in the Appeal filed by Obi in suit Nos.CA/LAC/CV/917/2019, CA/LAC/CV/917A/2019 and CA/LAC/CV/917B 2019, the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Ngozi Nwosu-Iheme voided the judgment of Justice Mojisola Olateregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos, delivered on May 23, 2019
The Court of Appeal also discharged and acquitted Obi, Messrs. Global Seal Investments Ltd and Grand Pact Ltd on all eight-count charge of theft, conversion, fraud and money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in April 2016 arraigned and prosecuted him on eight counts charges of stealing, conversion and money Laundering amounting to N136 million alongside another NIMASA staff, Alu Dismass.
Obi, was appointed the acting-Director General of NIMASA by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, but was accused of corruption by the EFCC, which also prosecuted him.
The EFCC had accused the duo of conspiring to convert the sum of N136 million belonging to NIMASA to their own use, a crime which the commission said was contrary to Sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Obi and Dismass pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and were subsequently granted bail in the sum of N5, with sureties in like sum.
They later filed a no case submission after the EFCC had close its case against them, however, the trial judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, dismissed their submission and ordered them to open their defence.
In her judgment, Jusice Olatoregun, sentenced the accused persons to seven years in prison with an option fine amounting to N42m.