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Fuel subsidy trial: More suspects to be arraigned today

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By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS— Five days after they were granted bail by an Ikeja High court, sons of the incumbent and former chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mahmud Tukur and Ahmadu Ali and three other oil marketers who were docked last Thursday, are still in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

This came as more of the alleged oil subsidy scam suspects will be arraigned today. The three others arraigned alongside Mahmud and Ahmadu were Abdulahi Alao, son of Alhaji Arisekola Alao, an Ibadan based businessman; a Sierra-Leonean, Christian Taylor and Ochonogor Alex. They were accused of defrauding the Federal Government of N304 billion in the oil subsidy scam.

After their arraignment last Thursday, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of Ikeja High Court granted them bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a level 16 officer in the Lagos State or Federal Civil Service. The other one must own a property worth N200 million.

It was gathered, however, that all their efforts to meet the bail conditions last Friday, the last working day, were futile.

As at Saturday evening, Vanguard  was reliably informed that the accused were yet to fulfill the bail conditions, especially getting sureties on level 16.

Another major hurdle before them was the verification of the particulars of the sureties as ordered by the court as well as getting the state officials to verify the property they intend to use as one of the conditions stipulated by the court.

In Lagos State, it was gathered that the state officials will have to visit and value the property and ensure that the property is properly evaluated and that necessary land charges have been paid before approval for the bail.

Some of the counsel to the oil marketers were sighted at the premises of the High Court Ikeja at about 5.30 pm on Friday, moving from one office to the other, trying to perfect the bail conditions.

One of the court officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “the way things are going, I doubt if they will finish the process before Wednesday.

As I am talking, they are yet to get a level 16 officer to stand in for three of them.
“You know the process is long and cumbersome.

They are yet to get or clear the issue of tax clearance which is the most difficult aspect now in Lagos State. Apart from getting the tax clearance, the state officials will visit the property being used as guarantee and value it with their valuers and also ensure that proper  ‘land use charges’ are paid on the property.”
My son is answerable for his actions —Arisekola Alao

Meanwhile, an Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Arisekola Alao has said his son Abdullahi who is facing trial in Lagos over oil subsidy scam is an adult and a businessman doing  business like every other Nigerian. In a statement, yesterday, he said Abdulahi Alao “is answerable for his actions and transactions under the law of the land. As an adult and a true Muslim, there is no doubt that he knows what is wrong and what is right”.


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