Subsidy scam: Two more oil marketers arraigned
July 31, 2012 in Recent News
Two more oil marketers, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited, were yesterday arraigned at an Ikeja High Court for fraudulent practices in the importation of fuel worth about N976m.
The defendants, who were charged before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were alleged to have conspired and defrauded the Federal Government of the amount through false pretences.
One Olugbenga Adesanya, who was supposed to have been charged along with them, is, however, still at large.
This brings to seven the number of oil marketers and three, the oil firms so far charged out of the 17 oil marketers and seven oil companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scam being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency.
The defendants were arraigned on a six-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
The agency had earlier preferred a seven- count charge against them but a prosecuting counsel, Mr. Francis Usani, asked the court to strike out one of the charges and the request was granted.
Specifically, the EFCC alleged that the defendants and Fargo Oil and Gas Limited “on or about February 10, 2012, with intent to defraud, conspired to fraudulently obtain N976,653,110.28 from the Federal Government by falsely representing the said sum as subsidy accruing on importation of 13,627,084 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, purportedly purchased from Sealac Petroleum Limited and imported into Nigeria through MT Diplomat Ex MT Milleura which representation they knew to be false.’’
Besides, the agency said the defendants and Fargo Oil and Gas Limited “on October 14, 2011 at Lagos and within Ikeja judicial division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Petroleum Support Fund, forged a document titled “Certificate of Origin, Port of Loading Antwerp Belgium” dated October 14, 2011, purporting the document to have been issued by Seatac Petroleum Limited”.
The EFCC said that the offences were contrary to Section 8 and punishable under Section 1 (1)(2)(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
It added that the offences were contrary to Sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria No 11, Laws of Lagos State 2011.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to the defendants, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN), told the court that there were two pending bail applications filed on behalf of the defendants and he urged the court to strike out the motion for bail dated July 25, 2012.
In its place, he prayed the court to retain the bail application filed on Monday as substitution with the new application.
EFCC’s lead counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, also sought for time to react to some fundamental issues raised in the new bail application.
Justice Onigbanjo granted the request and adjourned further proceedings till tomorrow.
Via National Mirror