Alleged Fraud: Court Defers Trial Of NAMA Boss, Others

Court-NAMAA Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned hearing on the trial of the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and six other persons till May 12.

Mr Ibrahim Abdulsalam and the other accused persons appeared before Justice Babs Kuewumi on Wednesday over an alleged fraud of 6850 billion Naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Abdulsalam alongside Adegorite Olumuyiwa, and his wife who is the Managing Director of Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Joy Ayodele Adegorite on a 24-count charge bordering on alleged fraud.

Other accused persons are Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, and two limited liability companies, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, as well as Randville Investment Limited.

At the resumed trial of the accused persons, their lawyers led by Mr Wale Akoni, urged the court to grant a very short adjournment to enable them study the ‘bulky’ proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution.

Lawyers to the other accused persons, Dunkwa A, Lanre Olayinka, and Abiodun Julius, informed the court that it had been extremely difficult to gain access to their clients at the prisons’ facilities where they were being remanded.

According to them, the situation has made it impossible for them to perfect the bail terms.

The lawyers lamented that their clients’ detention had also compounded their inability to understand the proof of evidence, urging the court to grant their application for adjournment.

In a swift reaction, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, vehemently opposed the application for adjournment while urging the court to dismiss same.

“We are opposing the application for adjournment. We found out that the applications lack merit and should be dismissed,” Oyedepo said.

The EFCC prosecutor further informed the court that the ground on which the applications for adjournment was made was overstretched.

He urged the court to dismiss the application for adjournment, and allow the trial to commence.

In his ruling, Justice Kuewumi conceded to the accused persons’ application for adjournment and deferred the trial till May 12.

The accused persons were also alleged to have converted various sums of money amounting to 4,003 billion Naira belonging to NAMA to their personal use.

Court Adjourns Money Laundering Case Against Fani-Kayode

Femii_Fani-KayodeA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till Nov. 11, the trial of former aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode.

Mr Fani-Kayode, is standing trial on an amended 40-count charge, of money laundering.

In the charge, the accused person was alleged to have transacted with funds exceeding N500, 000 without going through a financial institution.

The prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had also alleged the he accepted cash payments to the tune of about N100 million, while he held sway as Minister of Aviation and Minister of Culture and Tourism respectively.

The suit which was earlier fixed for hearing of addresses of counsel on a “no case submission” today has been further adjourned. No reason was given for the adjournment. The court registrars only informed parties that the suit had been slated for a further date.

The EFCC had opened its case against Mr Fani-Kayode on March 10. It called a total of six witnesses including: Investigating police officers, bank legal officer, relationship officer and a former aide to Fani-Kayode.

All witnesses had given various testimonies, as to their relationship with the accused, as well as the manner of investigations conducted on him.

The EFCC closed its case on July 10, while counsel to the accused, Mr Wale Akoni (SAN) informed the court of his intention to file an application for a no case submission on behalf of the accused.

The judge had then adjourned the case to take addresses from counsel on both sides.

NLNG Accuses NIMASA Of Scuttling Out of Court Settlement

The Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of frustrating its move to amicably resolve the protracted dispute between them.

NLNG and NIMASA have been locked in a fierce battle over the issue of non-payment of certain statutory levies and charges which NIMASA claims are due to it from NLNG.

On Thursday, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos had granted a short adjournment for the parties to conclude their out of court settlement talks, a development that prompted the court to fix Friday for the report of settlement.

When the case however came up, Counsel to NLNG, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN) told the court that settlement talks had failed.

In an interview with Channels TV, Mr. Akoni alleged that NIMASA actually frustrated NLNG’s settlement efforts.

“It appears to us that NIMASA is bent on stifling our business. NLNG has paid dividends to the Federal Government in billions.

“We even offered to continue to pay but they rejected our offer,” Akoni explained.

Justice Idris, it would be recalled, had on June 18, 2013 in Suit FHC/L/CS/847/2013 between NLNG and Attorney General of the Federation and Global West Vessels Specialists, granted an ex-parte order restraining the defendants from charging, imposing, demanding or collecting the 3% of gross freight earnings or any other sums further to section 15(a) of NIMASA Act 2007 on all of NLNG’s international inbound or outbound cargo ships owned, contracted or subcontracted by it.

After Mr. Akoni’s submission, lawyer representing the Federal Government, Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) moved his application seeking to discharge the ex-parte order on the grounds that the order was essentially made against NIMASA, which was not joined as party to the suit.

NIMASA has also filed an application seeking to be joined as a party to the suit.

According to Mr. Ajogwu’ application, the government contended that NIMASA is a body corporate with statutory powers to sue and be sued in its own name and that its non-inclusion as a party was a violation of the principles of fair hearing.

Ajogwu added that the fact that the other side was not heard before the order was made was fatal to the case of NLNG.

He further contended that an order cannot be made against a person who is not a party to the suit as it is necessary that such party must be given the opportunity to present its case.

Besides, Mr Ajogwu added that the dispute that gave rise to the suit was essentially between NLNG and NIMASA, and that the non-inclusion was a deliberate move by NLNG to circumvent the provision of Section 53(2) the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act of 2007, which makes it mandatory for an intending plaintiff to give the statutory body a 30-day pre-action notice.

According to Ajogwu: “The reliefs granted the Plaintiffs ex-parte are indeed, in form and substance essentially the reliefs being sought in the substantive suit;” and that the Court would not have granted the exparte order if not for the misrepresentation, concealment and non-disclosure of material facts by NLNG.

Justice Idris has fixed July 8, 2013 for ruling.

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.