Subsidy Scam: Witness tells court how Oil Magnate, Adegbite allegedly defrauded FG N735m

Subsidy Scam: Witness tells court how Oil Magnate, Adegbite allegedly defrauded FG N735m

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FCT High Court, Apo, Abuja, Wednesday, adjourned hearing to March 7, the suit involving two directors of Origin Oil and Gas Limited, Adegibite Adetoye and others in the alleged N735million subsidy fraud.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an 11-count charge bordering on fraud and abuse of Petroleum Support Fund to the above whooping sum of money.

It would also be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources had invited the EFCC, to help investigate the subsidy scam.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade said this in a statement in Abuja.

Orilade stated, “The defendants were alleged to have 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 and Eighteen Kobo) only from the Federal Government as payment for the importation of 15,000 mt of petrol, which they claimed to have purchased from Vitol SA and imported into Nigeria through MT Silverie.

“At the resumed sitting, the fourth prosecution witness, an operative with the EFCC, Chidi Nweke, led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Steve Odiase, told the court that fourth quarter allocation in 2010, was given to the three defendants by the PPPRA, for the importation of PMS.

“According to him, the importation was carried out by the defendants using the M.T. Silverie, which was purportedly loaded offshore through Cotonou in January, 2011 and discharged its entire cargo with the quantity of 19,179,999 liters of PMS at Lister depot Apapa Lagos operated by ‘O and O’ PLC.

“Nweke told the court that the defendants in turn submitted a claim to the PPPRA, on February, 2011, for their company, Origin oil and Gas, and was paid N1, 137,565,740.69 billion for 19,179,999 million liters of PMS, which was later confirmed to be false”.

But confronting the operator of lista depot, Nweke said it discovered that only 6,784,921 liters of PMS was discharged.

He added, “the companies also forwarded copies of the lease agreement which showed that ‘O and O’ plc; was the sole operator of the lista depot.

“Also, while interviewing the terminal manager of Lista depot, Mr. Irene Moses, also confirmed that the said amount was supplied, while also inspection agents/surveyors who participated in the operation of discharge of pms confirmed the said amount of 6,784,921 liters”.

Giving his witness before presiding Justice Silvanus Oriji, it was gathered that Nweke revealed that during investigations, the documents explaining how the PMS was discharged for which M.T. Silverie used to claim subsidy payments and certified copies showed that only 6,784,921 liters was discharged.

Nweke further affirmed, “We contacted the ship owner of M.T. Silveria Union Maritime Limited, who represents the manager of the vessel in Nigeria Betta Shipping Limited who stated that although the M.t. silverie loaded over 19 million liters in January 2011, they received instruction from Nepal Oil and Gas Business Partners to the defendants to transfer about 12 million litres to another vessel at offshore Cotonu in the name of MTTDT2”, he said.

“When we invited the Managing Director of Nepal Oil and Gas, Mrs. Ngozi Ekemo, she informed us that she had bought the entire cargo from the defendants in two parts.

“The first part was sold to her offshore in Cotonu at 12,000000 million litres. The second part was sold to her in Nigeria at a quantity of 6,784,921 million litres, which she sold to ‘O and O’ PLC; and she submitted documents of transactions to her claims.

“On receiving this information, a letter was written to PPPRA, and the response amounted to N402, 000, 000 (Four Hundred and two million Naira) only instead of N1, 137,565,740 billion paid by the Federal Government of Nigeria to the defendants. The difference being N735, 152, 76 million”.

Besides, the prosecution witness, according to EFCC, further explained that the documents of the inspection agents notably, Quantity Marine Services (qms) and port cargo experts were altered and forged, saying that same was used to claim subsidy from Federal Government of Nigeria.

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