$1.6bn oil fraud: Defense counsel’s absence stalls Omokore’s trial

Jide Omokore

The trial of Jide Omokore, an ally of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, for a $1.6 billion fraud, could not continue on Friday, December 8, 2017, due to the absence of defense counsel, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN.

Omokore, Chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Victor Briggs, former Managing Director of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC); Abiye Membere, former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); David Mbanefo, Manager Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited on a 9-count charge bordering on money laundering and procurement fraud.

Oyetibo, counsel for the fourth defendant, reportedly contacted the other defendants that he would not be in court, as “the day was not convenient for him”.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, who also confirmed receiving a call from Oyetibo, expressed concern that his witnesses that came all the way from Lagos were in court.

“I got a call from the counsel to the 4th defendant (Oyetibo) that today is not convenient for him and that he has spoken with other defendants,” Jacobs said. 

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, thereafter, adjourned to January 17, 2018, for the continuation of trial.