Erstwhile Managing Director of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Engr. Joseph Oyeyani Makoju and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Cross River State, Mr Knut Ndoma-Egba have refuted allegations by Messrs Ringardas Nig. Ltd that both of them in collusion with others allegedly stole 25,000 metric tonnes of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) from a storage tank in Sapele in 2006.
Recall that THISDAY had on October 23, 2012 published a story in which Riingardas said it petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the alleged fraud.
Their solicitors, Bernard E. Afu and Associates (Fountain Chambers) Legal Practitioners and Consultants in a letter to THISDAY dated 08 November, 2012 , stated that the allegation against their clients is "false, wicked and libellous."
According to the letter, signed by the Head of Chambers of the law firm, Bernard Afu Esq, , "...the EFCC and the ICPC investigated this same publication and established its falsehood in 2008."
The purported petition had indicated that Makoju, Ndoma-Egba and others had pilfered Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), with market value of over N200 million from a storage tank at leased to Ringardas.
Ringardas, stated Makoju's solicitors, had long before now extricated itself from any connection to the petition. "Similarly, on the 13th August 2008 MESSRS RINGARDAS NIGERIA LTD, in a letter to the chairman of EFCC, categorically denied publication of any such publication or petition," Fountain Chambers wrote.
The law firm also added that: "In the same vein, the writer of the petition i.e. Barrister Okoi Obono -Obla was charged before an Abuja Magistrate Court with the offence of criminal defamation of character contrary to section 391 and 392 of the penal code, and an arrest warrant issued against him on 4th February, 2009.