EFCC arraigns directors, firm over N735m subsidy scam


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned one Adegbite Adetoye and Ponnle Abiodun along with Origin Oil and Gas Limited before Justice Silvanus Orji of the FCT High Court Apo, Abuja on 11 charges bordering on fraud and abuse of Petroleum Support Fund to the tune of N735m.

According to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the accused persons conspired and fraudulently obtained the sum of N735, 132, 076.18 from the Federal Government as payment for the importation of 15,000mt of petrol which they claim to have purchased from Vitol SA and imported into Nigeria through MT Silverie.

The offence contravenes Section 8 (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

One of the charges read, “That you, Adegbite Adetoye and Ponnle Abiodun whilst being directors of Origin Oil and Gas Limited on or about the 8th day of October 2010 to December, 2011 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N735, 132, 076.18 From the Federal Government of Nigeria under false pretence that the said sum represented subsidy accruing to you, whereas the sum is above the actual subsidy payment for the importation of 15,000mt of premium motor spirit (petrol) which you claim to have purchased from Vitol SA and imported into Nigeria through MT Silverie which representation you knew to be false.”

They suspects were also accused of forgery contrary to Section 366 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004.

The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

The counsel for the defendants, S. I Ameh (SAN), informed the court that he had a pending bail application dated March 27, 2017 and served on the prosecution same date.

He urged the court to admit the defendants to bail adding that they would be available for trial.

Counsel for the EFCC, Steve Odiase, did not oppose the application.

Justice Orji granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100m each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be civil servants not below grade level 14 and resident in Abuja with traceable addresses to be verified by the court or the EFCC. The judge ordered that the defendants must not travel out without the permission of the court.

The judge subsequently ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.

The case was adjourned till May 22 and 25, 2017 for hearing.

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