The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned two sons of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains before the Lagos High Court over Lagos for alleged fuel subsidy fraud.
The duo was Mahmud Tukur, son of PDP National Chairman Bamanga Tukur, Nasamu Ali, son of the party’s former National Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Ali and others, including Christian Taylor, a foreigner.
But, Abdullahi Arisekola, son of Ibadan frontline businessman Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao, arraigned for two sets of charges before two judges, was remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till Wednesday when his bail application will be heard.
These PDP leaders’ sons were among the 20 supects who allegedly defraud the treasury of N13 billion.
“The Nation” reported that Tukur was arraigned alongside Alao, Ochonogor Alex and Eternal Oil and Gas Plc. before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.
The accused persons are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
EFCC prosecutor Mr Rotimi Jacobs, alleged that they had between January and April, last year in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N1.8 billion from the Federal Government.
He alleged that the accused persons obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
The accused persons were also alleged to have forged a Bill of lading dated April 28, 2011, which they used in facilitating the fraud.
Jacobs said their alleged offences contravened Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.
According to him, they also contravene Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Onigbanjo, ruling on the bail applications filed by their counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Olawale Akoni, granted them bail in the sum of N20 million each with two sureties in like sum.
The judge said one of the sureties must be a blood relative of the accused with a landed property in Lagos worth not less than N100 million, also with a verifiable title document.
He added: “The other surety must be a level 16 officer in the Lagos State or Federal Civil Service.
“The sureties must produce three years tax clearance and they must be verified by the chief registrar of the high court.
“The accused persons are to deposit their international passports with the EFCC, which must not be released without the express permission of the court”.
Justice Onigbanjo adjourned the matter till November 13 for trial.
Ali, Taylor and Nasaman Oil Services were arraigned before Justice Onigbanjo on a three-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence.
Jacobs alleged that the accused persons between January and April 2012, fraudulently obtained N4.4 billion from the Federal Government.
He said the money was obtained as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 30.5million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from SEATAC Petroleum Limited of British Virgin Islands.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail on the same terms earlier granted to the other accused persons.
The matter was adjourned to October 30 for trial.
Alao, alongside his company, Axenergy Ltd., was also arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru on another seven-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
He is accused of fraudulently obtaining N2.6 billion in December 2010 from the Federal Government as subsidy payments for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of PMS from Ex-MT Gavros and Ex-MT Nippon Princess.
The prosecution alleged that Alao forged a bill of lading dated October 13, 2011, which he allegedly used in perpetrating the fraud.
According to Jacobs, Alao’s alleged offences contravene Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.
He said it also contravened Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and the judge ordered him to be remanded in EFCC custody, pending the hearing and determination of his bail application on August 1.
The court also fixed Aug. 1 for the arraignment of Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi, Ezekiel Ejidele and Ontario Oil and Gas Plc.
The matter was adjourned following the absence of Wagbatsoma in court. His lawyer, Mr Babajide Koku (SAN), promised to produce him in court at the next adjournment date.
Koku said: “We have spoken to him and he’s making arrangment to appear in court to defend the charges against him.
“He would have been here this morning but he has problem with his flight but he promised to get a connecting flight and should be back by Monday.”
Counsel for Ugo-Ngadi, Ebenezer and Ejide, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN), Abimbola Odeyemi and James Ogunyemi objected to the request on the grounds that it would delay the liberty of their clients.
They urged the court to allow separate trials for the defendants so that they could argue bail terms for their clients.
The judge rejected their request, describing it as premature.
Justice Abiru granted the request of Mr. Koku, counsel to the 1st and 5th defendants, for an adjournment.
He ordered that all the other defendants be remanded in EFCC custody, pending when they will be properly arraigned on August 1.