By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE & IBUWARISO EMMANUEL
LAGOS — In a dramatic turn around, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday at a Lagos High Court withdrew the charges filed against two oil marketers, Messrs Durosola Omogbenigun, and Peter Mba, and their companies, Integrated Resources Limited and Pinnacle Oil and Gas over oil subsidy scam.
The anti-graft agency last week commenced prosecution of oil companies and their directors allegedly indicted in oil subsidy scam to the tune of N304 billion by filing charges against them at both Ikeja and Lagos judicial divisions of Lagos State High Court.
In a four-count-charge signed by Mrs Olabisi Fatunde, Director of Public Prosecutions, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Messrs Durosola Omogbenigun, and Peter Mba, and their companies, Integrated Resources Limited and Pinnacle Oil and Gas were alleged to have collected about N2.5 billion from the government as subsidy for the importation of petrol without supplying the fuel.
It alleged that the accused collected the money under false pretences from the government, purporting that it was payment accruing under the Petroleum Support Fund as subsidy for the importation of petrol.
In a dramatic twist yesterday however, the anti-graft agency told the court that the charges were inadvertently filed against them. At the commencement of the proceeding, the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he had instruction from the Attorney-General of the Federation to withdraw the charges.
He said, “a review of the prosecution’s case and the evidence available to the prosecution show that the defendants did not commit the offences for which they are charged. The charges preferred against the defendants in this case were misconstrued.”He also informed the court that the charges had not been served on the defence.
He therefore urged the court to strike out the charges against the accused persons
In his ruling, the trial judge, Candide-Johnson held that “at the instance of the prosecution, the suit dated July 20, 2012 is hereby struck out”.