The ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, over a 21-count charge bordering on forgery and subsidy fraud to the tune of N761, 628,993.84 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos continued on Thursday, December 16, 2021, with the cross-examination of the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Abubakar and his company are being prosecuted by the EFCC, for offences bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery to the tune of N761,628,993.84.
One of the counts reads: "Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about 26th day of September, 2011 in Lagos ,within the Ikeja judicial division , fraudulently obtained the sum of N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented the subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which Nadabo Energy Limited purported to have purchased from Delano Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island, and transported the 16,808,064 litres through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Sonia (daughter vessel) to Nigeria, whereas Nadabo Energy Limiter only imported 7,953,962 litres of PMS from Delany Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island and transported 7,953,962 litres of PMS through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Songa (daughter vessel) to Nigeria."
He pleaded "not guilty" to the charges when he was arraigned on October 7, 2015, thereby prompting the commencement of his trial.
At the last sitting, on September 22, 2021, Bawa, who was led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, S.K. Atteh, as the second prosecution witness, told the Court that investigations by the EFCC into petitions received from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and some concerned Nigerians in 2015 alleging fraud in the subsidy regime uncovered forged documents allegedly used by the defendant to claim subsidy funds for 12,000MT of PMS, whereas only about 6,000 MT was imported by the defendant.
Bawa had told the Court that in 2015, the EFCC received a complaint from the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, alleging fraud in the importation of PMS by Nadabo, and equally received a petition from Falana & Falana Chambers dated 17th of January, 2012.
The petitions, which also included a complaint from a civil society group, he said, formed the bedrock of the investigation into Nadabo Energy Limited.
At today's proceedings, the defence team, led by E.O. Isiramen cross-examined the witness.
Under cross-examination, Bawa noted that the said complaints were in respect of all oil marketers who participated in the subsidy regime.
"So, technically the name of the defendant is mentioned. But even at that, we don't even need a complaint before we can investigate him," he said.
Bawa, during the cross-examination, further asserted that the defendant used forged documents to claim subsidy funds for products not supplied, many of which he highlighted in the course of the cross-examination.
"The STS (ship-to-ship) documentation was found not to be genuine," he added.
Bawa further told the Court that the defendant was "already doing restitution and we have recovered money from him, which is an admittance that he was wrongly paid".
Following the request from the defence seeking an adjournment "to enable the defence procure documents to defend themselves," Justice Ogunsanya adjourned till February 17 and 18, 2022 "in the interest of justice".
Media & Publicity
16 December, 2021