PPPRA official, Akintola Williams director, 18 others in trouble
ALL is set for the trial of the fuel subsidy fraud suspects.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said a Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) official, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer, a director with Akintola Williams Deliote accounting firm, Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele and 18 others will face trial for alleged N13,403,504,083 billion fraud.
The suspects will face trial for claiming to have imported about 237million litres of petroleum products, which the anti-graft commission could not trace.
According to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the suspects will face trial in Lagos courts.
The commission said the 20 suspects belong to the first batch of 140 individuals and organisations being investigated over the fuel subsidy scam.
All the 12 suspects have been detained by the EFCC in preparation for their arraignment.
The anti-graft agency is liaising with the Chief Judge of Lagos State on how a vacation judge could handle the cases.
The suspects include seven companies and 13 individuals.
The statement said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has concluded arrangements to prosecute the first batch of 18 suspects implicated in the oil subsidy fraud. The suspects, comprising six oil companies and 11 individuals, will be docked in Lagos courts.
“The companies involved are: Nasaman Oil Services and Eternal Oil and Gas Plc believed to be owned by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chiefs; Ontario Oil & Gas Plc; Nadabo Energy Limited; Pacific Silver Line Limited, Axenergy Limited and Fago Petroleum and Gas Limited.
“The 12 individuals involved in the scam are: Mamman Nasir Ali; Christian Taylor; Mahmud Tukur; Ochonogor Alex; Walter Wagbatsoma; Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer; Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele; Abubakar Ali Peters, Jude Agube Abalaka, Abdulahi Alao and Oluwaseun Ogunbanbo.
“Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele is director of the accounting firm, Akintola Williams Deliote while Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer an official of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulating Agency (PPPRA).”
The EFCC said Abdulahi Alao will face double trial, making the number of suspects to be 20. He will be docked in another charge.
The statement details the findings against the suspects, especially how they claimed to have imported over 237million litres of petroleum products and benefited from fuel subsidy.
“Nasaman Oil Services, Mamman Nasir and Christian Taylor are to face charges bordering on obtaining N4,460,130 797. 94billion from the Federal Government under false pretence.
“The sum is alleged to have been fraudulently obtained as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 30.5million litres of Premium Motor Spirit from SEATAC Petroleum Limited of British Virgin Islands.
“The anti-graft agency will equally prosecute Abdulahi Alao and Axenergy Limited for allegedly obtaining N2,640,141,707.75 billion being payments received from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
“Others include Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdulahi Alao and Eternal Oil And Gas Plc who will be docked for fraudulently obtaining N1,899,238,946.02 billion from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
“Also, Nadabo Energy Limited, Abubakar Ali Peters, Jude Agube Abalaka and Pacific Silver Line Limited are to be prosecuted for allegedly obtaining N1,464,961,978.24 billion being payments fraudulently received from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 19.4million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
“Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo–Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer; Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele and Ontario Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited will be arraigned for fraudulently obtaining N1,959,377,542,.63 billion from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 39.2 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
“Lastly, Fago Petroleum and Gas Limited and Oluwaseun Ogunbanbo are to be docked for fraudulently obtaining N979,653,110.20 million from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 33, 627, 84 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.”
The EFCC assured that more suspects will be arraigned periodically.
The statement added: “The 20 suspects are among the over 140 individuals and organisations involved in the on- going investigations into the subsidy payments by the EFCC.
“More suspects will be arraigned periodically as the investigation progresses.
“This investigation is massive and extensive; and the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that every effort will be made to bring all those who defrauded the country in the guise of subsidy for imported fuel to book. “
It could not be immediately ascertained when the trial of the suspects will start due to the ongoing vacation of the court.
A reliable source in EFCC said: “Most of the courts are on vacation, we cannot say when they will face trial. But arrangement is being made to arraign the suspects before a designated vacation judge.
“We are expecting response from Lagos State Chief Judge on this.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “We have arrested all the suspects, they are presently being detained preparatory to their arraignment before any court.
“I cannot tell you when they will be arraigned but they are now in custody.”
The House Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy had recommended that some oil marketers and top officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) should be investigated and prosecuted by anti-graft agencies.
According to the report, those to be probed by anti-graft agencies (now only EFCC) are 121 oil marketers as follows:
· 17 marketers that did not obtain FOREX but claimed to have imported petroleum products. · 15 marketers who obtained FOREX but did not import petroleum products.· 71 oil marketers to face probe and refund N230.1billion· 18 oil marketers committed other infractions.President Goodluck Jonathan had on May 21 referred the Fuel Subsidy Report to the EFCC for further investigation and criminal trial of culpable ones.
The anti-graft agency said it is probing 140 of such cases.
SOURCE: The Nation