N963.7m subsidy fraud: Spring Bank says oil marketer followed due process

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The Spring Bank Plc on Thursday said that an oil marketer, Rowaye Jubril, followed due process in importation of fuel for which he was given N963.7 million subsidy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jubril is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for fuel subsidy fraud.

He is facing trial along with his company- Brila Energy Ltd – before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court.

The EFCC claimed that the defendant did not import the 13,500 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for which he was given the subsidy.

However, Mr Uchenna Adobaka, the Deputy Manager, Energy Group of Spring Bank, who testified before the court on Thursday, contradicted the EFCC’s claim.

Adobaka said: “The complete process of importation was complied with.

“As far as the bank is concerned, we have no evidence to show that the product was sourced locally. We (the bank) believe that it was imported.

“The witness, who was cross-examined by the Defence Counsel, Mr Kola Kolade, said the bank financed the transaction by granting Jubril a credit facility of $11.9 million.

He said that the bank appointed General Marine and Oil Services Ltd. to supervise the importation and discharge of the product on its behalf.

Adobaka, however, said that the company later wrote to Spring Bank admitting that it did not supervise the discharge of the product at Obat Tank Farm in Lagos.

The witness also noted that there were discrepancies in the shipping documents submitted by General Marine Oil Services Ltd. and their corresponding bank, Union Bank U.K., on the transaction.

“The document submitted by Union Bank U.K. showed that the mother vessel was MT Overseas Lima while our appointed agent said it was MT Gabros.

“We wrote to the supplier of the product, Napa Petroleum, who confirmed via an electronic mail that it imported the product for Brila using MT Overseas Lima,” he said.

He said all the required documents were submitted to the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for the processing of the subsidy payment.

According to him, the subsidy was credited into Brila’s account with Spring Bank.

He said that the loan was repaid with interest.

Under re-examination by EFCC Counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh, the witness said that the bank was not physically present to witness the transaction.

Adobaka said that the bank relied on the documents presented for the transaction which, he said, was the standard practice.

NAN reports that the case was adjourned till April 28 for continuation of trial. (NAN)

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