The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tuesday re-arraigned three oil marketers for fraudulently obtaining N789.6 million from the Federal Government.
The marketers, Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, were re-arraigned alongside their companies, Downstream Energy Sources Limited and Rocky Energy Limited before Justice Lateefa Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court.
The defendants, who were earlier arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru last year, are facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and uttering.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and Abiru granted them bail in the sum of N50 million each with two sureties in like sum.
Their re-arraignment was, however, necessitated by the elevation of Justice Abiru to the Court of Appeal.
At yesterday's proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court of the development and asked that the defendants be ordered to re-take their pleas.
EFCC had alleged that the defendants had between March 2011 and January 2012 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N789.6 million from the Federal Government.
The defendants were also alleged to have obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 14.2 million litres of petrol from Europe to Nigeria.
They were also accused of forging documents which included bill of lading, certificate of quantity, certificate of origin and cargo manifest, which they allegedly used in facilitating the fraud.
According to EFCC, the defendants' offences contravened Sections 1 (sub-sections 1,2,3) and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006.
Justice Okunnu ordered that the defendants should continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Justice Abiru.