By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has fixed Friday February 17 for continuation of trial of Emmanuel Atewe and three others, who are facing charges of alleged N8.5 billion fraud.
Atewe, a Major General and former Commander of the Niger-Delta Military Joint Task Force, is charged alongside Patrick Akpobolokemi, former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Also charged are Kime Engonzu and Josephine Otuaga, members of staff of NIMASA.
The accused are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on fraud. At the resumed hearing on Monday, trial could not go on as counsel to the second accused was absent in court.
The trial judge, Justice A.O Faji, adjourned the suit to Friday for continuation of trial.
The accused were re-arraigned before Justice Faji on February 3, following the transfer of the former trial judge, Saliu Saidu, from Lagos to Port Harcourt.
They had pleaded not guilty and were allowed to continue in the earlier bail terms granted them by Justice Saidu.
In the charge, the EFCC alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion, using six companies.
The companies are: Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd; and De-Newlink Integrated Services Ltd.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the accused committed the alleged fraud between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.
The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
The offence is also said to have contravened the provisions of Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C. 38, Law of the Federation, 2004.