By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Micheal Oladepo
LAGOS — Two more oil marketers, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Energy Limited accused of swindling the Federal Government in oil subsidy scam were arraigned, yesterday, at an Ikeja High Court on a six count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, forgery and using forged documents.
They were accused of defrauding the government of N979,653,110.28. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge
The prosecution alleged that the offences they committed are contrary to section 8 and punishable under section 1 (1)(2)(3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria as well as sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria No 11, Laws of Lagos State 2011.
According to the charge, the accused persons and the oil company “on or about February 10, 2012, with intent to defraud, conspired to fraudulently obtain N976,653,110.28 from the federal government of Nigeria by falsely representing that the said sum represented subsidy accruing on importation of 13,627,084 litres of Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) purportedly purchased from Sealac Petroleun Limited and imported into Nigeria through MT Diplomat and MT Milleura which representation they knew to be false”.
It further alleged that the defendants and the oil company “on 14th day of October, 2011 at Lagos and within Ikeja judicial division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretence from the federal government of Nigeria, under the Petroleum Support Fund, forged a document titled “Certificate of Origin, Port of Loading Antwerp Belgium” dated 14th day of October, 2011, purporting the document to have been issued by Sealac Petroleum Limited”.
Shortly after their pleas were taken, their counsel, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN) informed the court of his plan to move their applications for bail.
However, he said he had two different applications, one of which was dated July 25, 2012 and forwarded to court last week and a new one filed yesterday morning. He then applied that one the bail applications dated July 25, 2012 be struck out substituted with the new application.
He said the move was to react to the counter affidavit filed by the EFCC which opposed the bail for the 1st defendant.
The prosecution then urged the court to grant it time to react to some fundamental issues raised in the new application filed by the defence while the defence asked for two days to react to all issues raised in the counter affidavit of the bail application.
While conceding the need for an adjournment, the prosecution urged the court to order that the accused persons be detained in the custody of the EFCC pending when their applications for bail will be argued.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo ordered the detention of the defendants at the EFCC and adjourned the matter till Wednesday, August 1, 2012 (tomorrow) for argument on bail application.