Alao Collected Subsidy For Importing 15,000 Instead Of 4,000Metric Tonnes Of Fuel

The trial on N1.1billion fuel subsidy fraud against Abdullahi Alao, son of Ibadan based business man, Arisekola Alao, resumed on Wednesday and the Court heard that the young oil magnate was paid subsidy for importing 15,000metrc tonnes of fuel while he delivered just 4,000Metric Tonnes.

Abdullahi Alao and two other oil marketers Opeyemi Ajuyah and Olanrewaju Olalusi are facing trial on charges of forging documents to perpetrate the fuel subsidy fraud.

A prosecution witness, Mr Mohammed Adedapo, an inspector of petroleum products Q and Q Control Marine Services Limited testified against the three oil marketers at the continuation of trial before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

The marketers and their firms -Majope Investment Limited and Axenergy Limited were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The agency alleged that Alao and his co-defendants had imported about 4,000 metric tonnes of petroleum products but had obtained subsidy payment for 15,000 metric tonnes.

The witness who was led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Francis Usani, said Q and Q was contracted by Oando Oil and Gas PLC to inspect the quantity of products brought in by a vessel, MT Brave on behalf of Majope Investment Limited.

Adedapo said the discharge was done at Lister Jetty in Apapa between January 22 and 23, 2011, adding that the vessel brought 15,000 metric tonnes.

He said about 4,000 metric tonnes was discharged into the facility while the remaining quantity was taken away by the vessel.

The witness said he wrote a protest letter to the Captain of the ship as a result of the discrepancy witnessed in the transaction.

Adedapo said he issued a Shore Tank Certificate to the marketers indicating that only 4,000 metric tonnes was discharged in the facility.

Under cross-examination by the defendants counsel, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN) and Mr Oludare Falana, he maintained that he did not sign any document indicating that 15,000 metric tonnes was discharged.

Following his denial, Falana ordered him to sign on a blank paper for comparison of the signatures.

The paper was admitted by the court as Exhibit P6.

The matter was then adjourned till July 24 for continuation of trial.

Stalled Case

In another case, the trial of three other oil marketers, Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu and Ngozi Ekeoma was stalled.

The marketers and their firms – Anosyke Group of Companies and Dell Energy Limited are facing trial before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo for an alleged N1.5 billion fuel subsidy fraud.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, Anosike’s counsel, Mr Layi Babatunde (SAN), informed the court that he was contemplating his withdrawal from the matter over some recent developments which he did not disclose to the court.

He therefore asked the court for an adjournment to enable him discuss further with his client.

The Judge adjourned the matter till Sept. 18 for mention.

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.