Justice C.A. Balogun of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Tuesday, February 2, admitted in evidence more documents against Abubakar Ali Peters, and his company, Nadabo Energy who are both standing trial for an alleged N1.4 billion oil subsidy fraud.
Peters and his company are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC 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 supplied to 14,000MT.
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charge preferred against them.
At today’s sitting, Justice Balogun admitted in evidence, four documents, which the prosecuting counsel, S.K. Atteh on January 26, 2021 sought to tender against the defendant through the prosecution witness, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Bawa had identified two investigation activities letters written to Staco Insurance in the course of investigating the alleged fraud, and also the responses received from the Insurance Company. The witness had alleged that the Certificate of marine insurance used by the defendant for the transaction in question was forged.
But, the defence raised objection to the “tendering and admissibility” of the documents.
However, Justice Balogun overruled the objection and admitted the letters from the EFCC to Staco Insurance as Exhibit M1 and M2, and the response from Staco Insurance along with its attachment (including the original certificate of insurance) as Exhibit M3 and M4.
Continuing with his testimony, Bawa told the Court that “the value on the forged documents states that the amount to be insured based on the cargo was $17,205,000 (United States Dollar).”
According to Bawa, “the real certificate of marine insurance as indicated in exhibit M3 which has same insurance number 0047851 with same date of 25th October 2011 was for $4,780,128 (United States Dollar), which is the value of the actual importation of 4,800 MT by the defendant”.
Testifying further, Bawa told the Court that in the course of investigation, “we interviewed a gentleman, Ullrich Afini Awani of Global Commodities Africa who happened to be the African agent of Sea Tanker based in France and who are the owners of MT St Vanessa, the daughter vessel used by the defendant.”
He further revealed that Awani confirmed that “one Mr. Jide Ofor Akpan was the broker of the said vessel during the said transaction”.
Thereafter, the prosecution sought to tender the email correspondence between the witness and Awani along with a certificate of identification.
The defence, led by E.O. Isiramen, holding the brief of J.B. Daudu, SAN, however raised objection to the admissibility of the documents.
The case has been adjourned till February 10, 16, 23 and March 9, 2021 for “continuation of hearing”.