Leadership (Abuja)

26 July 2012

Nigeria: Fuel Subsidy Fraud - EFCC Arraigns Tukur's Son, Four Others

Photo: The Vanguard
Fuel Subsidy

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned Mahmud Tukur, son of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and four others for their alleged complicity in the fuel subsidy fraud.

Also arraigned were Nasamu Ali, son of former chairman of the PDP, Ahmadu Ali, and Abdullahi Alao, son of prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arikesola-Alao.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused persons were arraigned by the anti-graft agency before the Ikeja High Court in Lagos.

Tukur was arraigned alongside Alao, Ochonogor Alex and Eternal Oil and Gas Plc. before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

The accused persons are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.

EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, alleged that they had between January and April 2011 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N1.8 billion from the Federal Government.

He alleged that the accused persons obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

The accused persons were also alleged to have forged a Bill of lading dated April 28, 2011, which they used in facilitating the fraud.

Jacobs said their alleged offences contravened Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.

According to him, they also contravene Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003.

All the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Onigbanjo in a ruling on the bail applications filed by their counsel, Messrs Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Olawale Akoni, granted them bail in the sum of N20 million each with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said one of the sureties must be a blood relative of the accused with a landed property in Lagos worth not less than N100 million, also with a verifiable title document.

He said: "The other surety must be a level 16 officer in the Lagos State or Federal Civil Service.

"The sureties must produce three years tax clearance and they must be verified by the chief registrar of the high court.

"The accused persons are to deposit their international passports with the EFCC which must not be released without the express permission of the court".

He adjourned the matter to Nov. 13 for trial.

Ali , Christian Taylor (a citizen of Sierra Leone) and Nasaman Oil Services, were arraigned before Onigbanjo on a three-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.

Jacobs alleged that the accused persons between January and April 2012, fraudulently obtained N4.4 billion from the Federal Government.

He said the money was obtained as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 30.5million litres of Premium Motor Spirit from SEATAC Petroleum Limited of British Virgin Islands.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail on the same terms earlier granted to the other accused persons.

The matter was adjourned to Oct. 30 for trial.

Alao alongside his company, Axenergy Ltd., was also arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru on another seven-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.

He is accused of fraudulently obtaining N2.6 billion in Dec. 2010, from the Federal Government as subsidy payments for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit from Ex- MT Gavros and Ex-MT Nippon Princess.

Jacobs further alleged that Alao forged a bill of lading dated Oct. 13, 2011, which he allegedly used in perpetrating the fraud.

According to him, Alao's alleged offences contravene Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.

He said it also contravened Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and the judge ordered him to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the hearing and determination of his bail application fixed for Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, the court also fixed Aug. 1 for the arraignment of Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi, Ezekiel Ejidele and Ontario Oil and Gas Plc.

The matter was adjourned following the absence of Wagbatsoma in court with his lawyer, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN)promising to produce him in court at the next adjournment date.

In the same vein another Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, on Thursday adjourned a fuel subsidy fraud case till July 31, for the arraignment of two oil companies and their managing directors.

The court adjourned following the absence of both the prosecution and defence when the case was called before Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson.

According to the charge, the accused in the suit are Integrated Resources Ltd. and its Managing Director, Durosola Omaggenigun; and Pinnacle Oil and Gas and its Managing Director, Peter Mba.

The judge said that the court file had a receipt indicating that the EFCC and the Director of Public Prosecution had been served with hearing notices.

"With the absence of any Counsel in the matter, it is hereby adjourned to Tuesday July 31, for hearing," he said.

The defendants in the suit are accused of allegedly collecting N2 .5 billion for the importation of petrol, which they did not supply.

The four-count charge against them, signed by Mrs Olabisi Fatunde, the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, stated that they committed the offences between 2010 and 2011.

It said that they collected the money under false pretence of importing 32.3 million litres of petrol from Europe to Nigeria.

The government said that the defendants claimed to have used the money to import about 19.3 million litres of petrol from the Nimex Petroleum Ltd of Gibraltar.

It further alleged that they also claimed to have purchased about 13 million litres of the product from Alcamo International Ltd. of Geneva.

NAN

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