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N1.5bn subsidy fraud: Court retains charge against Arisekola, others

By Abdulwahab Abdulah

lagos—Justice Lateef  Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja high court yesterday refused to quash the N1.5 billion fuel subsidy fraud charge filed against the son of the late Ibadan business man, Alao Arisekola, Abdullahi and two others.

Akapo in his ruling held that the applications by the oil marketers lacked merit.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has dragged Alao, Mahmud Tukur, Alex Ochonogor and their companies Eterna Plc and Axe Energy Limited to court for allegedly defrauding the government of N1.5b.

They have since pleaded not guilty to the offences preffered against them.

They were charged to court by the anti graft body on a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and alttering.

EFCC claimed that they obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of petrol.

In their applications, through their counsel, Messrs Olaniran Obele, Ebun Adegboruwa and Aderemi Oguntoye,  argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the charge, maintaining that the proof of evidence did not support the offences alleged against the defendants.

Responding, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed the court to dismiss the application, saying the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has already decided on the issue.

According to Jacobs, the appellate court in a ruling delivered on April 30,2015, conferred jurisdiction of fuel subsidy cases on the state high courts.

 


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