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N7.3bn Fraud: Court Remands Suspects in Prison Custody

Justice O. Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, remanded two suspected oil fraudsters, Ogbor Elliot, Managing Director, Danium Energy Services Limited, and Godwin Okoronkwo, Managing Director, Petrosol Energy Limited, in prison custody for N7.3billion fraud.

The suspects, who were arraigned on Monday, October 9, 2017 on a 10-count charge bordering on obtaining under false pretence, conspiracy and forgery, were arrested following a complaint received by the Commission from a new generation bank on March 17, 2017.

The complainant, a new generation bank, alleged that sometime between January and February, 2017, Danium Energy Services Limited, one of the bank’s customers, approached the bank to finance three different Purchase Orders for the sale of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, to Total Nigeria Plc, with a cumulative value of N12, 134, 700,000 (Twelve Billion One Hundred and Thirty-four Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira).

The bank also alleged that it financed two of the Purchase Orders for the sum of N4, 103, 100, 000.00 and N4,015,800,000.009 respectively, after receiving alleged confirmation from Total Nigeria Plc.

However, the Purchase Orders were discovered to have been forged when the bank approached Total Nigeria Plc for payment 21 days after financing the transaction.

The judge had adjourned to October 11 for hearing of the bail applications filed by counsel to the defendants and commencement of trial.

At the resumed hearing today, counsel to the first and third accused persons, Ahmed Akanbi, told the court that he could not continue with the bail application on behalf of his clients in view of the response of the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, to the applications.

He, therefore, prayed the court for adjournment.

“My Lord, an accused person must be given adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defence. He has been charged with over 500 pages of documents and will need time to go through it,” he added.

Also, counsel to the second and fourth defendants pleaded with the court to maintain its earlier ruling that they be remanded in the EFCC custody.

Oyedepo however opposed Akanbi’s plea for adjournment.

He told the court that the accused was served with the charge on October 3, 2017 and he acknowledged the proof of evidence, and that the defense counsel consented to the hearing of the case today.

“So, why is he now moving for an adjournment?” he queried.

He prayed the court not to grant the adjournment sought by the defence in the interest of justice as the application was a ploy to delay proceedings.

“I am also pleading with My Lord to remand them in prison custody given the fact that counsel to the first defendant raised an issue of not being given enough time to meet with his clients,” Oyedepo said.

Justice Oguntoyinbo ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to Friday, October 13 for hearing of bail applications.

The judge also fixed October 18, 2017 and November 14, 17 and 20, 2017 for commencement of trial.

Oladepo Damola Administrator

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