N735m Subsidy Scam: EFCC Arraigns Firm, Directors

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned Adegbite Adetoye and Ponnle Abiodun along with Origin Oil and Gas Limited before Justice Silvanus Orji of the FCT High Court Apo, Abuja, on an 11-count charge of fraud and abuse of Petroleum Support Fund to the tune of N735million.

Adetoye and his co-accused allegedly conspired and fraudulently obtained the sum of N735, 132, 076.18 (seven hundred and thirty-five million, one hundred and thirty-two thousand, seventy-six naira, eighteen kobo) from the federal government as payment for the importation of 15,000mt of premium motor spirit (PMS) 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.
Count one reads: ‘‘Adegbite Adetoye ‘ M’, Ponnle Abiodun ‘M’, whilst being Directors of Origin Oil and Gas Limited on or about 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 (Seven Hundred and Thirty-Five Million, One Hundred and Thirty-Two Thousand, Seventy-Six Naira, Eighteen Kobo) 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 (PMS) which you claim to have purchased from Vitol SA and imported into Nigeria through MT Silverie which representation you knew to be false.’’

They 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 charge.

  1. I. Ameh, SAN, counsel to the defendants, 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 to EFCC, Steve Odiase, did not oppose the application.

Justice Orji granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100million each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be civil servants not below grade level 14 and resident in Abuja with traceable address to be verified by the court or EFCC. The defendants must not travel out without the permission of the court.

The case has been adjourned to May 22and 25, 2017 for hearing.

Meanwhile, Justice Orji has ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.


…Gombe cooperatives chairman docked for N30m scam

Also, the EFCC has arraigned Alhaji Isa Ahmed and Yahaya Manga of the Ministry of Information, Gombe State, before Justice Abubakar Jauro of the Gombe State High Court on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.

Isa Ahmed was alleged to have, sometime in January 2016, conspired with others and used his position as chairman of the Gombe State Ministry of Information Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society to secure agricultural loan facility in the sum of N30m from Union Bank Plc for disbursement to members but diverted part of the facility to personal benefit.

Investigation by the EFCC revealed that the first accused connived with the second accused, Yahaya Manga, chairman of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services, AUCPTRE, Gombe State Water Board Chapter, who is not a staff of the Ministry of information to divert the sum of N29m from the loan.

Count two of the charge reads:  “That you, ALHAJI ISA AHMED, YAHAYA MANGA,  and B. C. AMADI sometime in January 2016 at Gombe, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain money, the sum of Thirty Million Naira (N30,000,000.00) only from the Union Bank Plc under the false pretence that, such money be collected as Agric Loan and for the disbursement of same to the members of the Multipurpose Cooperative Society with the Ministry of information Gombe, which you never did; instead diverted same to your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to the provision of Section 1 (1) (a)  of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, LFN 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.”

They pleaded not guilty to the charge. In view of their plea, prosecution counsel A. Y. Muntaka urged the court to fix a date for trial. But Justice Jauro granted bail to the accused persons on the terms of the administrative bail earlier granted them by the Commission and adjourned the case to  April 10, 2017, for trial.

— With press releases by Wilson Uwujaren, head, media and publicity, EFCC

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