By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, dragged the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, Jide Omokore, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, over alleged criminal diversion of over $1.6 billion belonging to the Federal Government under the guise of oil swap.
According to court papers, Mr. Omokore and the others claimed they had the expertise and the wherewithal to procure crude oil from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and process same and deliver the monetary equivalent of 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil to them by the corporation.
However, the prosecution is set to prove to the defendants that they intentionally defrauded the government by taking the crude and not delivering the money or the crude back to the government.
Omokore was arraigned along with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
They were re-arraigned on a nine-count amended charge of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion alleged to be proceeds of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.
They pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial, and to allow the defendants to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Justice Binta Nyako.
Counsel to the defendants did not object to the request of Jacobs, urging the court to accede to his request.
Justice Dimgba, thereafter, fixed December 8 for hearing in the case, adding, “I, hereby, adopt the bail terms as mine.”
It would be recalled that Omokore and his co-defendants were first arraigned before Justice Nyako, on July 4, but the case file was afterwards transferred to Justice Dimgba by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
Count one reads: “That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May and October 2013, within the jurisdiction of this court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, induced the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to you 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) amounting to the sum of US$616,013,615.27 through the medium of contract, which delivery was induced by the false pretence.”