10 April 2014

Nigeria: N979.6M Subsidy Fraud - Oil Marketer Has Escaped to Canada, Says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday told an Ikeja High Court that an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, charged with N979.6 million subsidy fraud, has fled to Canada.

The EFCC disclosed this in its response to an application filed by Ogunbambo's counsel, Mr Raphael Oluyede, before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.

The News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that Ogunbambo is being prosecuted alongside another oil marketer, Habila Theck and their company -- Fargo Energy Ltd.

The judge had on Feb. 10 issued a bench warrant against him for failing to appear before the court for continuation of his trial.

Moving the application on Thursday, Oluyede urged the court to stay execution of the bench warrant and restrain the EFCC from arresting Ogunbambo pending the hearing and determination of Ogunbambo's appeal.

He had appealed the bench warrant at the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

"Whether or not the bench warrant was validly made or not is a question presently before the court of appeal.

"The prosecution (EFCC) has rushed to take steps to ensure that the result of the appeal will be nugatory," Oluyede said.

The defence counsel said that Ogunbambo was absent in court because he was recently attacked by some unknown gunmen, who had wanted to abduct him.

Opposing the application, the prosecutor, Mr Emmanuel Jackson, said the EFCC had not been able to execute the bench warrant as ordered by the court.

Jackson said:"We have deposed in our affidavit that intelligence available to the EFCC is that the defendant (Ogunbambo) has left the country for Canada.

"The commission is concerned because of the number of cases we have filed against him.

"He has abused the liberty of being granted bail and his action is making the criminal law to look like a toothless bulldog."

He debunked the claim that Ogunbambo was recently attacked by some unknown gunmen, adding that it was evident that he was no longer in Nigeria.

"This particular application is an application that ought to be dismissed because it is an abuse of court process."

NAN reports that the judge adjourned the case to April 28 for ruling on the application. (NAN)

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