the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday, October 5, 2012 arraigned thirteen suspects implicated in a fresh N3.7billion fuel subsidy scam.
Our checks reveal that the massive fraud was perpetrated using various instrumentalities such as forging of Bills of Lading, Certificate of Quantities and Certificate of Origin among a posse of criminal infractions to fraudulently obtain payments from the Petroleum Support Fund as subsidy for the importation of Petroleum Motor Spirit (petrol).
The suspects comprising eight individuals and five companies were arraigned before Justices Habeeb Abiru and Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.
The individuals involved are Aro Samuel Bamidele, Abiodun Kayode Bankole, Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu, Ngozi Ekeoma Alhaji Adamu Aliyu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah. The five companies involved are A.S.B. Investment Company Limited, Anosyke Group of Companies Limited, Dell Energy Limited, Downstream Energy Sources Limited and Rocky Energy Limited.
A.S.B. Investment Company Limited, Aro Samuel Bamidele and Abiodun Kayode Bankole were arraigned before Justice Lateefa Okunnu on an 18 count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence, forgery and uttering false documents to the tune of N1,341,471,735.67(One Billion, Three Hundred and Forty One Million, Four Hundred and Seventy One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Five Naira, Sixty-Seven Kobo ) being payments fraudulently received from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported supply of 38, 010, 413.00 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
The accused persons allegedly received N1, 265, 204, 348.20 and N76, 267,387.47 purportedly as subsidy for the supply of 17, 989,540.00 and 20,021,873 litres respectively of PMS.
The products were falsely claimed to have been purchased from Nimex Petroleum Limited and Duport International Limited in Europe and shipped into Nigeria through MT Pacific Innovator, MT Kirill Lavrov, MT Sea Voyager, MT Balisaire, MT Cape Bruny and MT Union Brave.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Jacob, SAN, after the suspects had taken their plea, requested for a date for hearing of bail applications, and urged the court to remand the suspects in prison custody. But defence counsel, Dr. Tochi Nwogu, prayed the court to remand the accused persons in EFCC custody, while asking for a short adjournment for hearing of bail applications.
In her ruling, Justice Okunnu adjourned the case till October 9, 2012 for hearing of bail applications and fixed trial for November 22; 27 and 28, 2012. She also ordered that the suspects be remanded in EFCC custody.
Justice Habeeb Abiru similarly adjourned the case involving Anosyke Group of Companies, Ifeanyi Anosike, Dell Energy Limited, Emeka Chukwu and Ngozi Ekeoma to October 9, 2012 for hearing of bail applications following their arraignment on an eight count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence; forgery and uttering false documents to the tune of N1, 537,278,880.82( One Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Naira, Eighty-Two Kobo) being payments fraudulently received from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported supply of 15, 000 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit.
They falsely claimed to have purchased the products from Mercuria Trading N.V. and imported into Nigeria through mother vessel MT Klara and MT Maritina, MT Emocean and Metric Tons SP Boston as the daughter vessels.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Lead Defence counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, told the court that he had filed applications for bail for the suspects and urged the court to remand them in EFCC custody. All other defence counsel aligned themselves with Nwobike.
Justice Abiru, in his ruling ordered that the accused persons be remanded in EFCC custody.
Also, Downstream Energy Sources Limited, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu M