Subsidy Scam: Justice Minister orders withdrawal of charges against suspects

Channels Television  
Updated July 31, 2012

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday withdrew criminal charges filed before a Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island against some oil subsidy suspects and their Chief Executive Officers.

Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson struck out the suit instituted against Durosola Omogbenigun, Peter Mba, Integrated Resources Limited and Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo in an application dated July 26 brought pursuant to Section 73 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Law, 2007 sought leave of the court to withdraw the charges.

Mr Oyedepo told the court that he had instructions from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to withdraw the charge against the defendants.

In a 10-pragraph affidavit attached to the application, deposed to by one Usani Francis, a prosecuting counsel with the EFCC, the anti-graft agency stated that the charges preferred against the defendants were misconstrued by the prosecution and were inadvertently filed against the defendants.

“That a review of the prosecution’s case and the evidence available to the prosecution clearly show that the defendants did not commit the offences for which they are charged’’, he swore.

The anti-graft body further added that withdrawing the charge against the defendants would meet the interest of justice in the case.

Misters Omogbenigun, Mba, Integrated Resources Limited and Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd were earlier charged with offences bothering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.

They were alleged to have forged bills of lading and other documents, with which they perpetrated the fraud.

Specifically, Integrated Resources Limited and Mr Omogbenigun were said to have obtained the sum of N823, 304,765.84 (eight hundred and twenty three million, three hundred and four thousand, seven hundred and sixty five naira, eighty four kobo) from the Federal Government on November 15, 2011, “by false pretence and with the intent to defraud.”

The defendants allegedly claimed it was subsidy money payable to Integrated Resources Limited under the Petrol Support Fund. The sum was said to be payments for Federal Government’s request for 9,190,815 Litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).