N1.5bn fuel subsidy fraud: Absence of EFCC witness stalls trial of 3 oil marketers

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Ikeja – The absence of an investigating officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Oghara Eburu, on Monday stalled the trial of three oil marketers.

The marketers– Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu and Ngozi Ekeoma — are being prosecuted over an alleged N1.5 billion fuel subsidy fraud.

They were charged alongside their firms, Dell Energy Ltd. and Anosyke Group of Companies, before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo an Ikeja High Court.

The defendants are facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and uttering.

In the suit, the EFCC alleged that the defendants fraudulently obtained the money from the Federal Government for the purported importation of 15, 000 metric tonnes of  petrol from Europe.

During Monday’s proceedings, all the defendants and their counsel were in court when the matter was called for hearing.

However, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court that Eburu was absent because of ill health.

Jacobs said the witness, who was pregnant at the last adjournment on April 2, was receiving medical attention.

He apologised for her inability to continue with the cross-examination and asked the court for an adjournment.

Counsel to the defendants, Dr Joseph Nwobike and Mr Andrew Alegbe, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, did not oppose Jacobs’ request for an adjournment.

The judge consequently adjourned the matter till July 8 for further hearing. (NAN)

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