Ikeja - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday re-arraigned three oil marketers, Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu and Ngozi Ekeoma, charged with alleged N1.5 billion fuel subsidy fraud.
The marketers were re-arraigned alongside their firms-- Dell Energy Ltd. and Anosyke Group of Companies, before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
The defendants are facing an eight-count charge, bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and uttering.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendants were earlier arraigned on Oct.5, 2012, before Justice Habeeb Abiru, who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and Abiru granted them bail each in the sum of N75 million, with two sureties each in like sum.
During Thursday's proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mr Tayo Olukotun, informed the court of the development and asked that the defendants should be ordered to re-take their pleas.
Olukotun alleged that the defendants had between March 2011 and January 2012 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N1.5 billion from the Federal Government.
He alleged that they obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 15, 000 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from Europe.
The prosecutor also accused them of forging documents, including bill of lading, certificate of quantity, certificate of origin and cargo manifest, which they allegedly used in facilitating the fraud.
Olukotun said that their offences contravened Sections 1 (1), (2),(3) and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006.
He said that, it also contravened Sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Their counsel, Messrs Monday Udoh, Ehiogie West-Idahosa and M.C. Barkin, in an oral application, urged the court to allow the defendants enjoy the bail condition earlier granted them by Abiru.
The judge acceded to their request and adjourned the matter to July 3 for commencement of trial.