Law News
Court to rule on alleged N789.6m subsidy scam Nov. 17

A LAGOS High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed November 17, 2015 to deliver ruling on no-case submission filed by three oil marketers over alleged fuel subsidy fraud in the sum of N789.6 million.

The presiding judge, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, fixed the date after submissions of counsel to the parties, Prof. Alfred Kasumu (SAN), Mr. Abubakar Shamsudeen and Mr. Eubena Ahmedu and counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

The oil marketers, Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, are being prosecuted alongside their firms – Downstream Energy Sources Ltd and Rocky Energy Ltd.

The defendants were re-arraigned on April 1, 2014 on an amended 26-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery, uttering and use of fake documents.

The anti-graft commission alleged that the defendants did not import the 10,862 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for which they received subsidy payment from the Federal Government.

In their separate no-case submission filed by their lawyers, they prayed the court to dismiss the charge for want of jurisdiction.

They said: “The entire 26 counts against the applicants all relate to matters over which it is only the Federal High Court that had exclusive jurisdiction as provided in Section 251 (a) (g) (n) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 19 of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, 2004.

“The entire evidence led by the prosecution and contents of the 26 counts amended information together with the extant laws, this honourable court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the information.”

While the defendants stated that the prosecution witnesses, who testified before the court, have not established a prima facie case against them, their counsel said the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was so manifestly unreliable with materialcontradictions and inconsistency that no court or tribunal could reasonably convict.

They, therefore, stated that the charge was an abuse of court processes and was not filed in accordance with the due process of the law.

Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel in his response urged the court to dismiss the applications and order the defendants to enter their defence, saying that the 11 witnesses and 48 exhibits tendered by the prosecution had sufficiently established a prima facie case against all the defendants.

According to him, the defendants colluded to defraud the Federal Government by obtaining subsidy payment without importing any product.

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