The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, August 23, 2012 arraigned two staff of Starcomms Plc before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State over recharge card scam to the tune of Twenty Eight Million Naira (N28, 000,000.00). Joshua Ogunlowo Olugbenga and Akinleye Adeyemo, Starcomms' Head of Administration and Accountant respectively, were arraigned before Justice O.A Boade on a five count charge bordering on intent to defraud and conspiracy to obtain Starcomms products by false pretence.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on August 15, 2012 took possession of an illegal oil bunkering vessel suspected to be carrying 300 metric tonnes of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil also known as diesel. The vessel, MT Ocean Treasure, alongside eight crew members and three staff of Vital Shipping Limited, Apapa, owners of the vessel, were handed over to officials of the Commission.
The quest for diligent prosecution of financial crime and corruption case received a boost recently with a workshop for prosecutors and investigators drawn from the main anti -graft agencies in Nigeria. The workshop which was organized by the British Department for International Development, DFID and Justice For All in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission attracted participants from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
The relentless campaign by the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering for compliance with anti-money laundering regulations by Designated Non-Financial Institutions has received a boost with a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria , making registration with SCUML a key Know Your Customer requirement for opening accounts for DNFIs in financial institutions.
Justice Sa'ad Mohammed of the Gombe State High Court, Gombe on Friday August 10, 2012, sentenced one Oluwaseun Abatan, a 34-year-old graduate of Quantity Surveying, to 28 years imprisonment.
Abatan who was first arraigned on 18th June, 2009 was convicted on four of the eight count charge of forgery and obtaining by false pretence brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012, arraigned three officials of Keystone Bank (formerly Bank PHB): Anayo Nwosu, Olajide Oshodi and Sunny Obaze alongside the managing director of Nulec Industries Limited, Ashok Isran before Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja over an Eight Hundred and Fifty Five Million Naira (N855, 000,000.00) scam.
Specifically, the suspects were arraigned on a two count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain the said sum from one Sir Daniel Chukwudozie of Dozzy Oil & Gas Limited under the false pretence of paying for preference shares of Nulec Industries Limited in an upcoming Initial Public Offer. Nulec Industries Limited and Keystone Bank were also separately charged with the suspects.
The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to a report which appeared in Thisday Newspaper of Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 with the banner, Subsidy: EFCC Suspends Arraignment of Marketers. The report suggests that the Commission has, following political pressure, suspended further arraignment of oil marketing companies and their directors suspected to have been involved in the fuel subsidy scam. The Commission views the suggestion as a distasteful misrepresentation of the reality on ground.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on August 3, 2012 arraigned Jonathan Udeagbala and his company, Lynq Communications Limited before Justice B. O Oluwayemi of the Lagos High court, Igbosere on a four count charge bordering on stealing, obtaining by false pretence and issuing dud cheques.
One of the charges read: "that you, Jonathan Udeagbala and Lynq communications Ltd, between September, 2009 and September, 2010 at Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, stole by fraudulently converting to your own use, the aggregate sum of N106, 250,000 (one hundred and six million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira) properties of Victory Electronics Company Limited and Fakwe Investments Limited".
When the two charges were read to Udeagbala and his company, he pleaded not guilty to them.
Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court on Wednesday August 1, 2012 ruled that Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, one of the suspects implicated in the multi-billion naira fuel subsidy fraud, be remanded in prison custody and ordered accelerated hearing of the case. The judge dismissed Ogunbambo’s bail application on the grounds of his criminal antecedent, which cast serious doubt on the chances of his being available for trial if granted bail.
Ogunbambo was arraigned on Monday July 30, 2012 alongside Habila Theck and Fargo Petroleum Gas Limited on a 6 counts charge for conspiring to obtain the sum of N976, 653,110.28 (nine hundred and seventy six million six hundred and fifty three thousand one hundred and ten naira twenty eight kobo) from the federal government of Nigeria by falsely representing that the said sum was accrued subsidy for the importation of 13,627,084 litres of petroleum motor spirit. They were also accused of forgery and use of false document contrary to section 364 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012, arraigned five fresh suspects implicated in the fuel subsidy scam at a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru. The five suspects: Walter Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo – Ngadi; Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer; Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele and Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, were arraigned on a nine count charge bordering on obtaining property by false pretences, altering, forgery and conspiracy.
The EFCC had on July 25th , 2012 taken the suspects to court in order to arraign them but the absence of one of the suspects, Walter Wagbatsoma, stalled the arraignment.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs told the court the matter was for arraignment. Thereafter, the suspects were called to the dock and the charges read to them. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Counsel to Wagbatsoma and Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Babajide Koku, SAN, said he had filed an application before the court, urging it to grant the defendants bail based on self- recognition. He said he hinged his prayer on the fact that his client promised to produce himself in court and he did so. Koku told the court that Wagbatsoma did not have any record of jumping bail and as such will be available for trial.