The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday sentenced Calistus Obi, a former Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to seven years imprisonment for N136 million fraud.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who sits in Lagos, however, gave Obi an option of N42 million fine.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Obi on an eight-count charge of fraud along with one Alu Dismas, who was an aide to a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi,.
Also charged were two companies, Grand Pact Ltd. and Global Seal Investment Ltd. as third and fourth defendants.
On May 23, the court convicted the defendants after it found them guilty of most of the allegations contained in the charge. She, however, discharged and acquitted them of count one – conspiracy to commit fraud.
Delivering the sentence, Olatoregun held that it was not in doubt that the prisons were congested and not conducive, necessitating consideration of a non-custodian sentence.
She, however, reiterated the need for punishments to send warning signals, and consequently sentenced the convicts to seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million fine on count two, and seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million on count three.
The judge punished the convicts with seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million on count four.
She ordered the companies to pay a fine of 10 million each on count five but made no forfeiture orders against them.
On counts six, the court sentenced Obi to seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million fine.
She also sentenced him to seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million fine on count seven while on count eight, she sentenced him to seven years imprisonment with an option of N7 million fine.
The court held that the terms of imprisonment shall run concurrently, while the fine shall be computed cumulatively.
EFCC had closed the case for the prosecution on Jan. 31, 2017, while the defence filed a no-case submission.
The court, however, dismissed the no-case submission on Feb. 21, 2017 and ordered the defence to open its case.
According to the charge, the convicts committed the offences on Aug. 5, 2014.
Prosecution said that they conspired to convert the money from NIMASA, with knowledge that same were proceeds of stealing.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibitions (Amendment) Act, 2012.