14 February 2013

Nigeria: Trial of Ahmadu Ali's Son for N4 Billion Subsidy Fraud Continues

The trial of Mamman Ali, son of former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), continued Wednesday with the cross examination of the prosecution's witness.

The exercise, however, ended before it began.

Ali, Christian Taylor, Seun Ogunbambo and Nasaman Oil Services are facing a 13-count charge of fuel subsidy fraud amounting to N4.46 billion.

Victor Shidok, an official of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), mounted the witness box, last week, to explain the role of the agency in the importation of fuel into the country.

Led in evidence by Francis Usani, the prosecution counsel, Shidok, an Assistant General Manager of the agency also detailed the guidelines and requirements of petroleum marketers in fuel importation.

When it was time for the defence to cross examine the witness, Wednesday, they finished their business in record time.

Bolade Obafemi is the counsel to Nasaman Oil Services and Messrs. Ali and Taylor were represented by Toyin Pinheiro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

After informing Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the trial judge, who received Mr. Shidok's written statement few minutes earlier, asked the witness when he joined PPPRA, the agencies involved in fuel importation, and the payment module for fuel marketers.

While Obafemi concluded his cross examination in less than 10 minutes; Chukwudi Maduka, counsel to Mr. Ogunbambo, finished his in five minutes.

"I never expected that we are going to be so brief," a visibly surprised Usani told the judge at the end of the cross examination.

"I thought it was something that is going to take us sometime," he added.

Onigbanjo adjourned till February 21 for continuation of trial.

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