This Day (Lagos)

31 January 2013

Nigeria: Subsidy Fraud - Court Grants Arisekola-Alao's Son Permission to Travel Abroad

Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court Wednesday granted an oil marketer, Abdullahi Alao, permission to travel to the United States for medical treatment.

Alao, the son of a prominent Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arisekola-Alao, is facing a N1.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud charge alongside Mahmud Tukur, son of the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; Alex Ochonogor and Eternal Oil Plc preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the court.

In his short ruling on the application filed by Alao's counsel, Mrs. O. Badewole, the judge ordered the EFCC to release his international passport to enable him travel but that he must return on or before February 25 when his matters comes up before Justice Lateefa Okunnu.

Justice Onigbanjo also ordered that Alao should return the passport to the commission's custody not later than February 24.

EFCC counsel, Mr. Tayo Olukotun, informed the court that the commission would not opposed the application if the travelling period did not exceed 30 days.

Following the ruling, Olukotun further told the court that the discussion between the defendants and the EFCC in respect of the charge had "hit a brick wall".

"The discussion between the defendants and the EFCC has hit a brick wall and we need to take a trial date.

"That is the instruction I have from Mr Rotimi Jacobs, the lead prosecutor", he said.

Tukur's counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), however, said the defence were not aware that the talks have broken down, adding that he spoke to the lead prosecutor earlier in the week and he never informed him of such development.

Justice Onigbanjo however adjourned the matter till May 6, 2013 for trial.

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