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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Nadabo Energy boss’ trial stalled as defence pleads for adjournment

Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Nadabo Energy boss’ trial stalled as defence pleads for adjournment

The ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, on charges of forgery of documents to obtain about N1.5 billion from the federal government was stalled on Monday at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

Mr Abubakar and his company are being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 27-count charge for allegedly using forged documents to obtain N1,464,961,978.24 from the federal government as an oil subsidy, after allegedly inflating the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) purportedly imported and supplied by the company.

At the previous sitting on December 20, 2021, EFCC chairperson, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who is appearing in the case as the fifth prosecution witness, had concluded his examination-in-chief. He was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, S.K. Atteh.

Following the conclusion of his testimony, the court ordered the defence counsel, E.O. Isiramen, to commence the cross-examination of the defendant, which he did.

Afterwards, the trial judge, C.A Balogun, adjourned until Monday for further cross-examination of the prosecution witness.

But, at the resumed sitting on Monday, the defence, represented by Abbas Oyeyemi, said they were unable to continue with the cross-examination on the grounds that they had yet to get the Certified True Copy of the court’s record of proceedings capturing Mr Bawa’s testimony.

“We have applied for the record of proceedings containing the testimony of the prosecution witness since December 20, 2021.

“However, we have been unable to procure the record,” a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, quoted Mr Oyeyemi as saying on Modnay.

In response, prosecuting counsel, Mr Atteh described the action of the defence as an attempt “to just frustrate the trial”, adding that the prosecution witness had been testifying since June 3, 2015.

He added: “There is no single document that the prosecution has not frontloaded, and provided for the defence.

“Moreover, the defence counsel is supposed to have his own record.”

Thereafter, the judge, Mr Balogun, adjourned the matter until January 25, for the continuation of the hearing.

The judge added that “it is noted that Isiramen had even commenced cross-examination on that day and he is fully aware of today’s date for continuation of cross-examination.”

EFCC’s statement quoted the judge as saying further: “Moreover, all documents tendered were already in the possession of the defendant.

“It is obvious that the defendant counsel has everything.

“However, this Court shall grant the defence one last chance to continue the cross-examination of the witness who is the Chairman of the EFCC and had to travel to Lagos to continue to be cross-examined.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Alleged N1.4bn subsidy fraud: What EFCC chairman said in court

“The registrars of this court have already been directed to release to the defence counsel whatever they require.”

Charges

One of the charges against the defendant reads: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 3rd day of April 2012 at Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N978,401,732.09 (Nine Hundred and Seventy-eight Million Four Hundred and One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-two Naira Nine Kobo) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 19,488,992 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which Nadabo Energy Limited purported to have purchased from Ashland SA Geneva Switzerland, and transported the 19,488,992 litres of PMS through MT American Express (Mother Vessel) and MT. St. Vanessa (Daughter Vessel) to Nigeria, whereas Nadabo Energy Limited only imported 6,505,140.04 litres of PMS to Nigeria through MT Evridiki (Mother Vessel) and MT St Vanessa (Daughter Vessel).”

Another count reads: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 25th day of October 2011 at Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) forged a document titled: Certificate of Marine Insurance no. 0047851 and purported the Marine Insurance certificate to have been issued by Staco Insurance Plc to Nadabo Energy Limited.”

He had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

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