The ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, before Justice C.A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos continued today, December 20, 2021, with the fifth prosecution witness and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, concluding his examination-in-chief.
Abubakar and his company are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 27-count charge for allegedly using forged documents to obtain N1,464,961,978.24 from the Federal Government as oil subsidy, after allegedly inflating the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS purportedly imported and supplied by the company.
While answering questions from the prosecuting counsel, Seidu Atteh, he shed more light on Exhibit X – the nine-page document tendered in court by the prosecution as the synopsis of the findings of the investigation team.
“Page eight is the summary of the findings of our investigations,” he said. “We found out that contrary to the claim of the defendant, as seen on page one that this particular Letter of Credit (LC) no. SPG/DLC/11/0013 is in favour of Ashland Energy SA, the LC is actually in favour of Petrocam Trading PYT Ltd.
“Also, contrary to the claim that MT St. Vanessa had a ship-to-ship transfer with MT American Express, as per page one, our findings, as per page eight, revealed that MT St. Vanessa had a ship-to-ship transfer with MT Evridiki, in which only 4,843.22 MT of PMS was taken offshore Lome as against the claim by the defendant that the vessel took 14,134.58 MT on the same date and same location.
“Our findings further revealed that Staco Insurance Plc issued Certificate of Marine Insurance no. 0047851 dated 25 October 2011 for only $4,780,128 as against the claim of the defendant that $17,205,000 was the value that was insured.
“In summary, our findings revealed that the defendant ought to have been paid only N486, 560,246.15 for importation of 6,505,140.42litres of PMS as against N1,464,961,978.24 paid for claiming to have imported 19,500,000 litres of PMS, thereby obtaining N978,401,732.09.”
Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Osagie Isiramen, Bawa told the court that the EFCC received complaints from the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, calling on the commission to investigate the entirety of the subsidy regime.
“In addition, we also received complaints from Femi Falana Chambers, as well as civil society groups and other stakeholders in Abuja, as signed by Dino Melaye and others,” he said.
According to him, the EFCC is empowered by Section 7 of the EFCC Establishment Act, “even if it does not receive a formal petition to still carry out investigation on financial matters that it believes may be fraudulent.”
The EFCC chief also told the court that the agency investigated all the companies that participated in the subsidy scheme.
“Some of the marketers that we prosecuted have been convicted by the court, some are still under prosecution, some are still under investigation, and we have recovered billions of naira,” he added.
The case has been adjourned until January 24 and 25, 2022 for the continuation of the cross-examination.