N979.6m Subsidy Fraud: EFCC Says Suspects Have Escaped To Canada

Oluwaseun OgunbamboOne of the major oil marketers on the wanted list of the EFCC, Mr Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, may have fled to Canada.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told an Ikeja High Court on Thursday that the suspect fled to Canada to avert justice.

Mr Oluwaseun is charged with receiving 979.6million Naira from the Federal Government without supplying any petroleum product.

According to spokesman of EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, the suspect now at large and another oil marketer Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Energy Limited were facing trial for defrauding the Government of 979.6million Naira.

The defence counsel, Mr Raphael Oluyede, said that Ogunbambo was absent in court because he was recently attacked by some unknown gunmen, who had wanted to abduct him.

The prosecutor, Mr Emmanuel Jackson, however, debunked the claim that Ogunbambo was attacked by unknown gunmen. He stated that it was evident that he was no longer in Nigeria.

“He has abused the liberty of being granted bail and his action is making the criminal law to look like a toothless bulldog”, he said.

Jonathan’s aide stands as surety for fuel subsidy fraud suspect

The Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Intergovernmental Affairs, Mrs. Mariam Ali, has volunteered to be the bail surety for one of the suspects of fuel subsidy fraud, Christian Taylor.

Christian Taylor, a Sierra Leonean, who is amongst the people arraigned for the fuel subsidy scam was, last week granted bail by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo. But on Tuesday, he applied to have his bail conditions varied.

The judge was told by his lawyer, Kolade Obafemi that it would be difficult for him as a foreigner to produce a blood relation to stand surety for him as he has no such relation in Nigeria.

The lawyer then  informed the court that in place of a blood relative, a reputable and responsible Nigerian, an aide of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Mariam Ali, has agreed to stand surety for the Sierra-Leonean.

“The proposed surety, Dr. Mariam Ali is a responsible Nigerian. She is the Special Assistant to the President on Intergovernmental Affairs,” he said.

Mrs. Ali who is a Special Adviser to President Jonathan has also agreed to use her landed property situated in Surulere, Lagos as part of the bail bond.

Taylor is standing trial alongside with Mahman Ali, who is son of   Mariam and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali.

Although the prosecution led by counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, opposed the variation of the bail condition on the ground that Taylor was trying to misrepresent fact as he had earlier claimed in his statement that he was a native of Edo State from Okpe local government area before turning around to claim Sierra leone, his counsel assured the court that he would not jump bail.

The judge, however overruled Jacobs, saying, “the essence of granting the bail was to ensure that the accused attended trial.”

Based on this, Justice Onigbanjo varied the bail condition and substituted it with a reputable and responsible Nigerian with landed property in Lagos.

Taylor and Ali along with their company, Nasaman Oil Services were arraigned on July 26 on three counts which includes the fraudulent  collection of about N2.23bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria as subsidy for importing PMS.

The commencement of the trial was fixed for October 30.