10 Decemnber 2013, Lagos – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned Mahmud Tukur, son of the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and four others for their alleged complicity in the fuel subsidy fraud.
Tukur was arraigned afresh alongside Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao, son of an Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arikesola-Alao and Eterna Oil and Gas Plc before a new trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court.
The trial was transferred from Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo to Justice Lawal-Akapo after the former was moved to the Commercial Division of the High Court.
The defendants are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), alleged that they had between January and April 2011 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N1.8 billion from the federal government.
He alleged that the defendants obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of petrol.
They were also alleged to have forged a bill of lading dated April 28, 2011, which they used in facilitating the fraud.
Jacobs said their alleged offences contravened Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006.
According to him, they also contravened Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Lawal-Akapo however asked the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by the former trial judge.
Meanwhile, Justice Lawal-Akapo yesterday also adjourned the re-arraignment and trial of a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, till March 24, 2014.
The judge fixed the dates following an administrative mix up which omitted Akingbola’s case in the cause list for yesterday’s proceedings.
Akingbola and his co-defendant, Bayo Dada, were present in court but the judge noted that the matter was not listed.
Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN), said it was not proper to arraign the defendants because the case was not on the cause list for the day.
Akingbola and Dada were charged to court for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.
They are facing a 22-count charge of stealing and obtaining money by false pretences.
The defendants were earlier arraigned on May 31, 2011, before Justice Habeeb Abiru before the judge was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
The matter was later re-assigned to Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo and the defendants were re-arraigned on February 26, 2013.
The recent transfer of Onigbanjo to the Commercial Division of the Lagos High Court again necessitated the transfer of the case file to Lawal-Akapo.
– This Day