Lagos - Justices Lateefat Okunnu and Habeeb Abiru of Ikeja High Courts on Tuesday granted bail to eight oil marketers standing trial over alleged fuel subsidy fraud.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the eight marketers and their companies were arraigned on Oct. 5 for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of N3.7 billion.
Okunnu granted Aro Bamidele and Abiodun Bankole bail in the sum of N100 million each with three sureties in like sum.
The judge ordered that each of the sureties must be resident in Lagos, gainfully employed and should depose to an affidavit of means, showing that they could meet the bail bond.
She said that two of the sureties for each of the defendants must own landed property in Lagos State while the other surety must be a director in a quoted company in Nigeria.
The judge directed that the sureties must produce three years’ tax clearance certificates, and that the documents should be verified by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Okunnu ordered the defendants to deposit their international passports and other travelling documents with the court’s Chief Registrar.
She directed that the defendants should not travel out of Nigeria without the court's permission and must report to the EFCC office once a month throughout the duration of the trial.
On his part, Abiru granted bail to Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu and Ngozi Ekeoma in the sum of N75 million each with two sureties in like sum.
The judge also granted bail to Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah in the sum of N50 million each with two sureties in like sum.
He directed that the sureties must be gainfully employed, should depose to an affidavit of means and own landed property in Lagos State worth, at least, N50 million.
The judge ordered the sureties to produce three years’ tax clearance certificates, adding that they should deposit their international passports with the court's Chief Registrar.
NAN reports that the defendants are facing charges of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretences and forgery.
They had all pleaded not guilty.
Bamidele, Bankole and their company, A.B.S Investment Company Ltd, were charged to court for allegedly collecting N1.3 billion from the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF).
Anosike, Chukwu and Ekeoma alongside their firms -- Dell Energy Ltd. and Anosyke Group of Companies -- are being prosecuted for allegedly collecting N1.5 billion from the PSF illegally.
On their part, Maula, Ogbonna, Morah, Downstream Energy Sources Ltd. and Rocky Energy Ltd. were charged with collecting N789.6 million from the fund.
All the defendants were also accused of forging documents, including bills of lading, certificates of quantity, certificates of origin and cargo manifests, which they allegedly used in facilitating the fraud.
The EFCC said that the offences contravened Sections 1 (sub-sections 1,2,3) and 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Related Offences Act.
The commission added that the offences contravened Sections 363 and 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State.
The case was adjourned till Nov. 26, for substantive trial.