By Bartholomew Madukwe & Jane Echewodo
Lagos—Justice Lateefa Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court yesterday sentenced the Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Mrs Adaoha Ugo-Nnadi to 10 years in prison for defrauding the Federal Government of N754 million in oil subsidy transactions.
It would be recalled that Walter Wagbatsoma, Ugo-Nnadi’s co-defendant and the Chairman of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited were not present in the court for the sentencing.
Wagbatsona however, is currently detained in the United Kingdom on charges relating to a £12 million National Health Service (NHS) Trust fraud.
The sentence is the first of its kind since massive oil subsidy fraud allegedly perpetuated by oil marketers was uncovered in the petroleum industry in 2012.
In her judgment, justice Okunnu sentenced Wagbatsoma and Ugo-Nnadi to a minimum of 10 years in prison for the six-count charge proffered against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“For each of the counts of conspiracy to obtain money under false pretences the defendants are sentenced to ten years in prison.
For each of the counts of obtaining money by false pretences, the defendants are sentenced ten years in prison.
“For the count of conspiracy to commit forgery the defendants are sentenced to seven years in prison, for the offence of forgery the defendants are sentenced to eight years in prison,” Okunnu said.
The judge noted that the total sentenced passed was a total of 69 years for each of the defendants but the sentence was to run concurrently.
While passing her judgment on Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Okunnu said; “I hereby give an order of restitution to Ontario Oil and Gas Limited.
“The N754 million which was defrauded by the company should be returned to the Federal Government,” the judge said.
The counsel to Ugo-Ngadi, Mr Y.A Kadiri made an attempt to complain to Justice Okunnu about the treatment of his client by the EFCC after the sentence was read.
“For the record, the conduct of the prosecution has been unethical.
“The second defendant has been in hospital though her situation had improved slightly, the prosecution mounted tremendous pressure on the hospital management to discharge her, “ he said.
Okunnu, however, refused to listen to complaint of the defence.