By Onozure Dania
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Thursday, remanded four Directors of Petro Union Oil and Gas Limited in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged £2. 550 billion fraud.
Justice Mohammed Liman ordered that they should be remanded at the EFCC’s custody after their plea was taken.
The four Directors are Abayomi Kukoyi, trading under the name and style of Gladstone Kukoyi & Associates), Kingsley Okpala, Chidi Okpalaeze and Emmanuel Okpalaeze.
The defendants alongside the firm, Petro Union Oil and Gas Limited, are facing a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and fraud preferred against them by the Anti-Graft Agency.
EFCC in a charge marked FHC/L/46c/2020, brought against the four directors alongside the oil company and one Prince Isaac Okpala (now deceased) were alleged to have committed the offences between 1994 and 2007.
They were alleged to have fraudulently procured a cheque, from a foreign bank in the sum of £2.556 billion, under the pretext that it was meant to construct three petrochemical refinery complexes in Nigeria.
They were also alleged to have sometime in April 2007, forged a statement of account in the name of Goldmatic Limited, which was used to obtain the sum of £2.159, 221, 313.54 billion.
The commission also accused the defendants of altering a bank cheque dated December 29, 1994, in the sum of £2.556 billion, made payable to Gladstone Kukoyi & Associates, for the purpose of constructing three petrochemical refineries in Nigeria.
According to the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the offences are contrary to, and punishable under sections 1(2), 1(2)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, 509, 467(2)(I) and 468 of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The four directors pleaded not guilty to the charges. In view of their plea, the prosecutor asked the court to remand them in the custody and asked for a trial date, as well as a separate date for the hearing of the defendants’ bail application.
Responding, defence lawyers, Olasubomi Adegbemisoye and Bashir Ramon drew the court’s attention to the bail applications of their clients which they said will be served on the prosecution.
They equally urged the court to order their clients’ remand in EFCC’s custody owing to their state of health. After listening to the submissions of both parties, Justice Liman adjourned the matter to February 19 2020, for trial and hearing of the bail applications.