Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Nadabo Energy Boss’ Trial Till March 1

Alleged Kidnap: Judge’s Absence Stalls Evans Trial
A file photo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja

 

The trial of Abubakar Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, for an alleged N1.4 billion fraud before Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, continued on Tuesday with the cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

During the proceedings, the defence counsel, Osagie Isiramen, was present and he continued with the cross-examination of Bawa.

Under cross-examination, Bawa identified Exhibit B as the bundle of documents submitted to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for processing the subsidy funds claimed by the defendant.

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“This is the bundle of documents submitted by the defendant to the PPPRA, which we requested from the agency for the certified true copy and they obliged us,” he said.

Bawa also identified Exhibit W as the bundle of documents furnished to the EFCC by the defendant.

He further confirmed that the covering letter as seen in Exhibit B was signed by Ted Okonkwo, Head, Port Harcourt Zone of PPPRA, whom he said “acted, to the best of our knowledge, based on the documents available to him and information received allegedly.”

When questioned further, Bawa said: “The EFCC looked at the bigger picture and concentrated on what the government had lost in the entire scheme of the alleged fraud and took a decision on who to charge.”

When asked about the role of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, particularly the documents they contributed to allegedly obtain subsidy funds for the defendant, Bawa told the Court that “Through our investigation, we found out that the content of the documents submitted, including a letter written by Masters Energy to PPPRA that the defendant discharged 14,000MT equivalent to about 19,000,000 litres of PMS in their tank farm is false.”

He further told the Court that “The EFCC is carrying out a holistic investigation of the company itself regarding its activities. From our findings, some documents from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, were also false.”

The case has been adjourned till March 1 and 22.

Alleged ₦1.4bn Fraud: EFCC’s Documents Were Duly Obtained – Court

Logo of a court gavel

 

 

The trial of Abubakar Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, over an alleged ₦1.4 billion oil subsidy fraud, has resumed before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja.

The Star Witness, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, AbdulRasheed Bawa continued his testimony before the court.

Bawa who is testifying as the second prosecution witness told the court that his team found that the defendant falsified the volume of petrol that he imported into the country, using forged documents.

“He claimed to have imported about 12,000 metric tonnes of PMS, while our investigation revealed that he imported about 6,000 metric tonnes of PMS,” he said.

“We wrote to the Petroleum Products Price and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), asking them to re-compute the actual payment to the defendant. They wrote back that the company was paid more than ₦1.4bn, he should have been paid about ₦606m.”

The EFCC Chairman who was personally involved in the investigation of the case also told the court that investigations showed that the 2nd defendant, Abubakar was found to be the one managing subsidy transactions in his company.

He sought to put into evidence documents to back his testimony.

The defence counsel, Osagie Isiramen, objected to the tendering of some of the EFCC’s documents which included letters written to various bodies seeking information on the defendants’ transactions.

Justice Ogunsanya listened to the arguments for and against the tendering of the documents and subsequently overruled his objections. The court held that the documents were properly obtained during the course of EFCC’s investigations.

As of the time of this report, the court is still hearing the matter.

The EFCC had arraigned Abubakar Peters and his company Nadabo Energy Limited on a 21-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery.

The trial, which began in October 2015, predates the appointment of Bawa as the Chairman of the EFCC.

Abubakar is also facing a similar charge brought against him by the EFCC before Justice Christopher Balogun of the same Lagos High Court.

 

Omokore Visits EFCC

OmokoreThe Chairman of Atlantic Energy, Mr Olajide Omokore, has been explaining his encounter with the EFCC.

He told Channels Television that he visited the EFCC office in Abuja on his own volition and that he was not arrested or picked up by the commission’s agents.

He explained that during his long conversation, he was not told of any charges related to corruption or money laundering.

Reuters News Agency had reported that Mr Omokore was arrested for charges related to corruption and money laundering.

UK Court Seizes Diezani’s Money

DiezaniBritain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has obtained permission from the Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Marylebone Road, London to temporarily seize 27,000 pounds that is about $41,000 from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

An Administrative Officer at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said that the NCA had applied to the court for an order to seize various sums of money in relation to Alison-Madueke and two other women for up to six months.

No details were given on the link between the three women.

Earlier reports on Monday suggested that the former minister had appeared in court, but this turned out to be incorrect.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke also failed to appear at the Charing Cross Police Station where she was expected to report on Monday according to reports from Friday night when she was granted bail.

Conflicting Reports Trail Diezani Alison-Madueke’s Court Appearance

Alison-MaduekeThere are conflicting reports about the appearance of Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, at the Westminster Magistrate Court in London on Monday.

At the Charing Cross Police Station, in London on Monday, our correspondent, Doris Okenwa, did not see any sign of Mrs Alison-Madueke early in the morning.

She waited for several hours before also visiting the magistrate court without any trace of the former minister.

This afternoon, however, BBC correspondent, Sam Eiranty, tweeted that he sighted the former minister and her mother at the magistrate court early in the morning.

No detail was given as to whether she has been charged and when she is due to return to court.

Mrs Allison-Madueke was arrested on Friday morning but was granted bail and asked to return to court on Monday.

She was arrested by the National Crime Agency along with four other people and is being investigated for alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.

She denied any wrong doing when accused by the then Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who is now the Emir of Kano, of alleged misappropriation of $20 billion oil money.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was Petroleum Minister between 2010 and 2015.

 

Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke Granted Bail

Alison-Madueke
Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was arrested in London on Friday, has been granted bail.

She was granted bail by a Magistrate Court in London after she had been detained for several hours.

Reports say that the former minister’s international passport has been seized.

The UK National Crime Agency on its official website says that its recently formed International Corruption Unit has arrested five people across London as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering offences.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on Friday along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Meanwhile, the Presidency in Nigeria has declined to comment on the arrest of the former Petroleum Minister.

Presidency Silent On Diezani Alison-Madueke’s Arrest

Alison-Madueke The Presidency in Nigeria has declined to comment on the arrest of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

When asked to confirm if the arrest was based on the request of the Nigerian Government, the response from the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, was “I will get back to you”.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on Friday along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke Arrested In UK

Diezani The immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been arrested in London.

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested along with four other persons in relation to corruption allegations being investigated by the UK National Crime Agency.

Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has been in London for some time, reportedly on health grounds.

Under her watch the then CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleged missing funds in the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), amounting to 20 billion dollars.

Few days ago at the UN General Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari had made it clear that those who misappropriated billions of naira belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation would soon be prosecuted.

It is not yet known if Mrs Allison-Madueke’s arrest was based on a request from the Nigerian Government.

It was alleged earlier in the year that the former Petroleum Minister, who was one of the closest to the administration of former President Jonathan, would flee the country, to avoid being prosecuted over allegations of fraud, especially in the NNPC.

This was following the defeat of the former President at the Presidential election in April.

She, at the time, denied seeking asylum in any part of the world, stating that the Jonathan administration had done a lot in the Oil and Gas industry that cannot be rubbished by malicious claims.

Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Alison-Madueke Elected OPEC President

OPECNigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, has been elected as President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Alison-Madueke’s election as President of OPEC took place on Thursday at the ongoing 166th ordinary meeting of the Organisation, taking place in Vienna, Austria.

She becomes the first female to be elected into that position, and replaces Libya’s Vice Prime Minister for Corporations, Abdourhman Atahar Al-Ahirish, who was occupying the position.

Before her election, Mrs Alison-Madueke was the alternate president of OPEC and is expected to immediately begin to serve her one-year term at the helm of OPEC affairs.

It is expected that OPEC, during its ongoing 166th meeting, would make key decisions that could halt the dwindling price of crude oil.

Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, born 6 December 1960, became Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation on July 26, 2007. She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In accordance with its Statute, the mission of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.

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.

Sanusi Says Suspension No Surprise, To Seek Legal Clarification

The suspended CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi has said that he may have to seek some form of legal advice over his suspension by the Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Sanusi spoke to CNBC on the telephone on Thursday morning and he said that his suspension did not come as a surprise, saying he was rather surprised that it had taken this long.

Reacting to the allegations of financial recklessness, the suspended Governor said that he was aware of the audit of the reporting council and that all the questions and concerns that were raised, he had provided answers to.

“We all know what this is about. This is about consequences for decisions I have taken. This is something that is long overdue. I am surprised it took them so long”, he said.

Mr Sanusi went further to say that he may have to cross check the powers of the President to suspend a CBN Governor.

He said, “Even if I challenge it, I am not going back to the job, it will be in the interest of the institution to cross check once and for all if the President has the power to do this. The reason is if it’s not challenged, for now the next CBN Governors will not be independent for fear of being suspended by politicians. I do plan to have the courts confirm if indeed that authority exists and I will challenge it.”

When asked about the implications of his suspension on the market, Mr Sanusi said, “Basically, my concern is for the safety of the market, I have had a wonderful time in service to my country. I would not want to see all of my work unravelled. No individual is worth it.”

Mr Sanusi said that he was in Niamey along with other Governors of West African Central Banks to meet with the President of Niger and President of Ghana, when the information reached him. He left the meeting to hand over to his deputy, Dr. Sarah Alade, whom he had been asked to hand over to and who “fortunately” was with him in Niamey, capital city of the West African country, Niger.

Sanusi’s Suspension A Distraction From Finding Missing $20 Billion Oil Money – SERAP

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described the suspension of the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi as “a distraction and can only contribute to shifting the focus of the Government from the real issue, which is finding the missing $20 billion oil money.

SERAP, in a statement on Thursday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said that, “The Government should not politicise the fight against corruption. Our concern remains the urgent, thorough, transparent and effective investigation into allegations that $20 billion oil money is missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“If it is true that the suspension is linked with Sanusi’s public disclosure of the missing funds, SERAP believes that this will be clearly wrong and contrary to the Government’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption to target a whistle-blower simply for putting the information in the public domain. No one should be victimized for contributing to the fight against corruption, which is the moral and legal responsibility of any serious, open and people oriented government.

“Unless the Government comes clean about what exactly has happened to the $20 billion missing oil money, the NNPC will remain unaccountable to Nigerians for its action. This will not be consistent with the attitude of a government establishment funded with tax payers’ money.

“The Government’s action in finding the missing money and punishing suspected perpetrators is critical if it is to enjoy the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the fight against corruption.”