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Subsidy: Judge orders authorities to produce defendant

23 January 2013, 14:15

Lagos - A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has ordered authorities of the Ikoyi Prisons to produce an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, before it to stand trial for an alleged N967.6 million fuel subsidy fraud.

Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of Lagos High Court, Ikeja, issued the production warrant on Tuesday after the absence of Ogunbambo stalled the commencement of his trial.

The judge ordered the prison authorities to produce the defendant on the next trial date fixed for Feb. 11.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogunbambo was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on July 30, 2012.

He was arraigned alongside an associate, Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Petroleum and Gas Ltd.

The accused are facing a six-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of fake documents.

They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail by the court.

However, Ogunbambo's bail could not be perfected because he was denied bail by Onigbanjo in another fuel subsidy case involving N4.4 billion.

He was also denied bail by Justice Olabisi Akinlade of Ikeja High Court, Lagos, where he is facing another fraud charge.

The defendant was arraigned before Akinlade for allegedly fraudulently obtaining a N430 million loan facility from Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

During Tuesday's proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mr Francis Usani, drew the court's attention to the fact that only Theck was in court for the trial.

Usani said: ``The first defendant (Ogunbambo) is not in court.

``I am surprised because I was with him yesterday before Justice Akinlade and there was nothing wrong with him.

``I don't know why he has decided to abandon court today".

However, counsel to the accused, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, blamed the absence of the defendant on a mix-up by the prison authorities.

``The prison wardens said they were not aware that they were to bring him today because he is on bail in this matter.

``So a specific order needs to be made to the prison authorities concerning this matter," Oyewole said.

NAN

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