Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tuesday re-arraigned three oil marketers: Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, before a Lagos High Court, on an alleged N789.6 million fuel subsidy fraud.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has arraigned a traditional ruler, Nze Obi IV, Cornelius Nwoga, before Justice V. Agishi of the Federal High Court, Enugu, Enugu State, for allegedly perpetrating a N12 million fraud.
In a related development, Justice Atinuke Ipaye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja will on May 9, 2014, hear application filed by alleged fraudster, Mr. Fred Ajudua, asking it for an order permitting his extra-judicial statement to be taken.
The defendants were arraigned alongside their companies – Downstream Energy Sources Ltd. and Rocky Energy Ltd, on a 26-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by pretences, forgery and uttering.
They were earlier arraigned on February 26, 2013, on an eight-count charge of which they pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of N50 million each, with two sureties in like sum.
According to the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the defendants allegedly committed the offences between March 2011 and January 2012 in Lagos.
He further alleged that they fraudulently obtained N789.6 million from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 14.2 million litres of premium motor spirit (PMS) from Europe to Nigeria.
The prosecutor also accused them of forging documents, including bill of lading, certificate of quantity, certificate of origin and cargo manifest, which they allegedly used in facilitating the fraud.
Jacobs said their offences contravened Section 1 (sub-sections 1,2,3) and Section 8 of the Advanced-Fee-Fraud and other related offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006.
According to him, it also contravened Sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2003.
The defendants again pleaded not guilty to the charges when it was read to them yesterday.
The judge ordered that they should continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by the court and adjourned till June 10 for trial.
The EFCC stated yesterday that the monarch was arraigned on an eight-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining money by pretence.
The accused was alleged to have conspired with a syndicate to defraud one Okey Marcel of the sum of N12.4 million by falsely presenting himself as a staff of Agip Oil Company and awarding a contract to construct five boreholes to Okey Marcel with the pretense that Agip Oil Company was awarding contracts for Aggah Town, Egbema, Rivers State.
Other members of the syndicate (now at large) include Njoku Odili Eze, Ikechukwu Obi, Chinasa Osadebe and one Donatus Azubike alias Engineer Casmir (already convicted).
The accused person pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Based on the plea of the accused, prosecuting counsel, Innocent Mbachie, asked the court to fix a date for the trial and to remand the accused in prison custody.
Attempt by the defence counsel, Sunny Onyike, to move the motion for bail for his client, was opposed by prosecuting counsel on the ground that he had just been served by the court and so, would need time to respond to it”.
Justice Agishi adjourned the matter to April 14, 2014, for hearing on the bail application while the accused person was remanded in prison custody.