Two remanded in prison custody over N1.5bn subsidy scam

Ikechukwu Nnochiri

18 October 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA — AN Abuja High Court at Gudu, has remanded two principal suspects in the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion from oil subsidy funds, Alhaji Saminu Rabiu and Jubril Rowaye, in prison custody.

Trial Justice, Adebukola Banjoko, directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to transfer the accused persons to prison, following their inability to meet the stringent bail conditions handed to them by the court, yesterday.

The duo, who took turns to plead “not guilty” to a 17-count criminal charge preferred against them by the anti-graft agency, yesterday, were said to have fraudulently obtained monies from the Federal Government on the pretence that the funds represented subsidy payment accruing to one Alminnur Resources Ltd, for the purported importation of 10,000MT of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

They were said to have claimed that the PMS was purchased from Napa Petroleum Trade Inc. and imported it into Nigeria through Mother Vessel, MT Kriti Akti, a claim EFCC said was false and amounted to an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

EFCC further alleged that the accused persons, alongside two indicted companies, Alminnur Resources Ltd and Brila Energy Ltd, on or about June 14, 2011, with intent to defraud, did conspire to do an illegal act to wit; made a forged document captioned: “Bill of lading” dated June 14, 2011 containing Form M No: CB06920090010249MF0481139 and LC N0: IBF0747/09904.
It was purportedly in respect of importation of PMS on board the Mother Vessel, MT Kriti Akti and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 and 364 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation (Abuja) 1990.

EFCC also charged the two companies as 3rd and 4th accused persons in the matter.
Beside the allegation that the accused persons presented bogus import documents to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency, PPPRA, EFCC told the court that they made a forged document captioned “Certificate of Quantity Transfer” dated July 9, 2011, purportedly issued by MGI Inspections Ltd., as proof of the transfer of 100003.279 Metric Tons (Vac) of PMS from the Mother Vessel, MT Kriti Akti to a vessel, MT Althea (1st Daughter Vessel) at off shore Cotonou.

Meanwhile, counsel to the accused persons, R. Nnah and Ajibola Oluyode decried the conditions as too stringent, saying they will re-approach the court for a possible variation of the terms.
It would be recalled that the trial was stalled on the last adjourned date, October 9, after the first accused person, Rabiu, feigned deafness immediately the court clerk wanted to read the charge to them.

Rabiu claimed he could not hear anything said to him, a situation that led the trial judge to adjourn the case with a caveat that he should get himself cured before, yesterday.
At the resumed sitting yesterday, the first accused person, who wore hearing-aid, initially claimed he could not hear.

After a stiff reprimand from the trial judge, he listened to the charge and entered his plea.
The case was adjourned till October 29 and 30 for hearing.

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  • We need to see some government personnel being prosecuted as accomplices also because it is important to note that these characters couldn’t have scammed the state without the active connivance of government personnel charged with the responsibility of verifying their claims.