Subsidy scam: Court grants bail to suspects
A Lagos High court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday granted bail to the sons of the former and serving national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), Ahmadu Ali and Bamaga Tukur, and some other suspects indicted in the oil subsidy scam.
Mamman Nasir Ali, Mahmud Tukur, and two others were granted bail by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo in the sum of N20 million each with two sureties in like sum, one of the sureties according to the court must be a blood relation and another a level sixteen officer in the Federal or State civil service.
The court also held that one of the sureties must own a property worth N100 million in Lagos and that the title of the said property must be registered with the state land registry and the sureties must present to the court’s registrar a three years tax clearance.
Justice Onigbanjo also ordered the defendants who also included Ochonogor Alex and Christian Taylor to deposit their travel passports with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which can only be released to them on the orders of the court.
Alao to remain in custody
Though all the accused persons are free to go home upon fulfilling the terms of the bail, Abdulahi Alao, the son of Ibadan businessman and politician, Arisekola Alao would, however, remain in the custody of the EFCC until the 1 August when another judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, handling the second charge filed against him by the anti-graft agency will determine whether to grant him bail or not.
His bail application for the trial which he and his company, Axenergy Limited are being arraigned, could not be heard because the EFCC pleaded for more time to respond to the application. He is facing a seven count of obtaining N1. 8 billion under false pretence
Mr Alao in the charge was specifically accused of conspiring to obtain N1. 8 billion from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented subsidy paid to him under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 20, 014, 627 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which he falsely claimed was purchased and imported to Nigeria from Mercuria Trading N.V, vide MT Gavros ExMT Nippon Princess.
In the second case before Justice Onigbanjo, Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdulahi Alao and Eterna Oil and gas are facing a nine count of obtaining a sum of over N5 billion under false pretence.
They were said to have conspired to obtain the sum from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented subsidy paid to Eterna Oil and gas under the Petroleum Support Fund when they claimed to have purchased 33, 288, 338 litres PMS from Mercuria Trading SA and imported to Nigeria through MT Fulmer EX MT Emirate Star and MT Panther EX Emirate Star.
More false pretense
In yet another case, Mamman Nasir Ali, Christian Taylor and Nasaman Oil Service Limited were also arraigned before Justice Onigbanjo on a three count charge of obtaining N4. 8billion under false pretense.
Nasir Ali is the son of Ahmadu Ali, former chairman of PDP, and former chairman of the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
However, the arraignment of Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha-Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer, Ezekiel Olajide Ejidele and Ontario Oil & Gas Nig. Ltd could not go ahead as Wagbatsoma failed to appear before the court.
His counsel Babajide Koku (SAN) informed the court that his client was not in court because he’s presently out of the country but would return to the country on Monday to enable him appear before the court.
But counsel for Ugo-Ngadi, Ebenezer and Ejidele, the second, third and fourth defendants respectively, Mr. Wale Akoni, (SAN), Abimbola Odeyemi and James Ogunyemi urged the court to separate the case of their clients from Wagbatsoma’s to enable their clients to be properly arraigned and also enable the court take their bail applications.
But Justice Abiru in his short ruling refused the request of the counsel on the basis that the request is premature at this stage as they are not yet properly before the court, he held that until their plea is taken the court cannot assume jurisdiction or make orders over the case.
The judge then adjourned the case till the 1st of August while the accused persons would remain in the custody of the EFCC.