N976.6m Fuel Subsidy Fraud: EFCC Files Amended 10-Count Charge Against Oil Marketer


N976.6m Fuel Subsidy Fraud: EFCC Files Amended 10-Count Charge Against Oil Marketer
— June 25, 2014

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday filed an amended 10-count charge against an oil marketer, Habila Theck, who is facing a N976.6 million fuel subsidy fraud charge.

The charge was filed against Theck and his company — Fargo Petroleum and Gas Ltd — before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court.

The EFCC counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh, told the court that the amendment was necessitated by the inability of the EFCC to apprehend one of the defendants, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo.

Atteh said investigation by the commission had revealed that Ogunbambo had fled to Canada after he was granted bail by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

He urged the court to order the two other defendants (Theck and Fargo) to retake their pleas.

However, counsel to the defendants, Mr Mobolaji Akintunde, informed the court that he had an application indicating the withdrawal of his firm from the matter.

Akintunde argued that though the application was not ripe for hearing, it must be heard before any further step could be taken by the court.

The judge consequently adjourned the case to July 14 for the hearing of the application and possible arraignment of the defendants.

In the amended charge, the defendants are facing a 10-count offence bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences, forgery, uttering and use of forged documents.

The EFCC alleged that they conspired with Ogunbambo and one Olugbenga Adesanya, also at large, to commit the offences between October 2011 and November 2012 in Lagos.

The commission said they fraudulently obtained N976.6 million from the Federal Government under the guise of importing 13.6 million litres of petrol.

It said that the petrol was purportedly purchased from one Seatac Petroleum Ltd and imported into Nigeria through MT Diplomat Ex MT Milleura.

The EFCC further alleged that the defendants had on Oct. 14, 2011 in Lagos forged a document entitled, “Certificate of Origin, Port of Loading Antwerp, Belgium.’’

The anti-graft agency said the defendants falsely claimed that the document was issued by Seatac Petroleum Ltd.

It also accused them of forging a Certificate of Quality dated Nov.19, 2011 purported to have been issued by Inspectorate Marine Services (Nigeria) Ltd to perpetrate the fraud.

According to the EFCC, the offences contravene Sections 1, (sub-sections 1,2,3) and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation.

The offences also contravened Sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. (NAN)