- Published on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 16:56
- Written by Admin
[elombah.com] The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday withdrew charges of conspiracy and fraud relating to petroleum subsidy payments against four persons. Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, struck out the charges following an application by the EFCC.
EFCC's counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said he was instructed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) to withdraw the case.
He said: "We have an information (a charge) dated July 20, 2012 before this court.
"I have the instruction of the Attorney-General of the Federation to withdraw this information.
"The information has not been served on the defence.
"I urge the court to strike out the charges, “the EFCC counsel added.
In a short ruling, Justice Candide-Johnson ordered as prayed.
"At the instance of the prosecution, the information having been withdrawn is struck out," he said.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said, “The withdrawal of the charges against Pinnacle Oil and Gas Plc and others was deliberate. In the face of fresh evidence, the commission felt the need to firm up the charges, fully convinced that it is better to consolidate the charges ahead of formal arraignment than to start making amendments thereafter.”
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Oyedepo Rotimi, told a Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Tuesday that the charge tagged, ID/122C/2012, was mistakenly instituted against Omogbenigun, his company Integrated Resources Limited, like Mba and his Pinnacle Oil and Gas firm.
The EFCC, in the charge, alleged that they conspired on different occasions to fraudulently collect over N2bn from the Federal Government under the Petroleum Support Fund, purporting the money to be payments for importing certain litres of petrol).
The four were charged with four counts of conspiracy to obtain and obtaining property by false pretences.
The anti-graft body said the offences were contrary to Section 8 and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.
He said the EFCC found out after a review that the suspects did not commit the offence for which they were to be arraigned.
He added, “The charges preferred against the defendants in this case were misconstrued by the prosecution and were inadvertently filed against the said defendants.
“A review of the prosecution’s case and the evidence available to the prosecution clearly showed that the defendants did not commit the offences for which they are charged.
“The complainant/applicant in consideration of the above fact has decided to withdraw the criminal charge before this Honourable Court against the defendant and substitute it with an information already filed at the registry of this Honourable Court in suit No. ID/122C/2012 – Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and others.
OUR EARLIER REPORT
The trial of persons and organisations indicted in the mindless abuse of the Petroleum Support Fund in the guise of subsidy for imported fuel continued yesterday, July 30, 2012, in Lagos with the arraignment three more suspects - Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, Habila Theck and Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited- by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The trio were docked before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a 6 counts charge for conspiring to obtain the sum of N976, 653,110.28 (nine hundred and seventy six million, six hundred and fifty three thousand, one hundred and ten naira, twenty eight kobo only) from the federal government of Nigeria by falsely representing that the said sum was accrued subsidy for the importation of 13,627,084 litres of petroleum motor spirit.
They were also accused of forgery and use of false document contrary to section 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria . The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Babajide Koku (SAN) counsel to the accused persons informed the court that he had filed a bail application dated 25 of July, 2012 and served on the prosecution. However, he said he needed time to respond to the counter affidavit and requested for a short adjournment. Prosecution counsel, Usani Francis did not oppose the application.
Justice Onigbanjo, consequently adjourned proceedings to Wednesday August 1, 2012 for hearing of the bail application while ordering that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody.