Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Oil subsidy fraud: More marketers arraigned

Lamorde, EFCC Boss
Monday July 30, 2012: More marketers indicted in the oil subsidy scam have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja. Those arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo include Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, Habila Theck and Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited.

One of them, Olugbenga Adesanya, was, however, not arraigned alongside others as, according to EFCC, he is "still at large". The arraigned persons and company were among the 17 oil marketers and seven oil companies indicted in the fuel subsidy fraud by the House of Representatives committee.
They were arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretense, forgery and use of false documents. Initially, the charge sheet carried seven counts but one of the prosecuting counsel, Mr Francis Usani, applied to the court to drop one of the charges.

According to the charge sheet, the offenses are contrary to section 8 and punishable under section 1 (1)(2)(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. The offences, the commission further stated, are contrary to sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria No 11, Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that the defendants and the oil company  "on or about February 10, 2012, with intent to defraud, conspired  to fraudulently obtain N976,653,110.28  from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely representing that the said sum represented subsidy accruing on importation of 13,627,084 litres of Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) purportedly purchased from Sealac Petroleum Limited and imported into Nigeria through MT Diplomat Ex mT Milleura, which representation they knew to be false."

EFCC also alleged that the accused and the oil company “on the 14th day of October, 2011 at Lagos and within Ikeja judicial division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretense from the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Petroleum Support Fund, forged a document entitled ‘Certificate of Origin, Port of Loading Antwerp Belgium’ dated the 14th day of October, 2011, purporting the document to have been issued by Seatac Petroleum Limited.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to each of the six-count charge and their counsel, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), applied to the court for bail.

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