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
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
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.