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Oil subsidy fraud trial resumed today

16 September 2014, 21:02

Lagos - The trial of the alleged oil subsidy fraud suspects resumed today at the Lagos High Court after months of suspension following the annual vacation holiday by the Lagos Judiciary.

Ope Yemi Ajuyah and her company, Majope Investment Ltd, are on trial for defrauding the Federal Government of about N1.1 billion through scheme.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking the prosecution of co-suspects, including oil marketer, Abdullahi Alao and Olanrewaju Olalusi, a staff of Sterling Bank Plc.

At the resumption of proceedings of the trial before Justice Lateefat Okunnu, counsel to Ajuyah,  Olarenwaju Ajanaku  rejected the claim by the EFCC that his client conspired with others to divert over 10 000 metric tonnes of premium motor spirits.

An EFCC investigator, Effa Okim, had in May testified that the defendants had claimed that they imported 15 000 metric tonnes of PMS and thereafter collected subsidy payment.

Okim said investigations by the EFCC showed that the vessel, MT Brave, only discharged 4 264 metric tonnes at the Lister Jetty in Apapa, while the remaining product was diverted to an unknown destination.

He said Majope Investment Ltd. later obtained a subsidy payment for 15 000 metric tonnes from the Petroleum Support Fund for the said transaction.

However, under-cross examination by Ajanaku, Okim admitted that an independent auditor, Ezekiel Ejidele, who supervised the transaction, admitted that 15,000 metric tonnes were discharged.

Addressing the witness, he argued that the EFCC failed to do a thorough investigation of the transaction and tendered Ejidele's statement to the commission which was admitted as exhibit by the court.

He said in the statement, Ejidele, a staff of Akintola Williams Delloite Auditing Firm, confirmed that 15 000 metric tonnes was discharged at the jetty.

Ajanaku further argued that the discharge certificates signed by the other surveyors, Q and Q Survey Ltd. and Petroma Logistics Ltd. also revealed a discharge of 15 000 metric tonnes.

The matter was adjourned to Friday for continuation of trial.

  - CAJ


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