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Alleged N2.2bn subsidy fraud: Absence of prosecution counsel stalls trial



Trial of Mamman Ali, son of a former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, for alleged N2.2 billion oil subsidy fraud suffered a setback on Wednesday due to absence of lead prosecution counsel.

It was reported that Ali is standing trial alongside one Christian Taylor and a company, Nasaman Oil Services Ltd. before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them.

The N2.2 billion oil subsidy fraud trial was to continue on Wednesday with defendants expected to open defence.

However, the case could not go on as scheduled due to absence of Mr Seidu Atteh, lead counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the case.

EFCC is prosecuting the case.

Atteh had, on March 26, informed the court that EFCC was closing its case after testimony of the its 11th witness, Mr Effa Okim, an investigative officer with the commission.

Okim is one of the team members who investigated the allegations against the defendants and some other oil marketers.

However, on Wednesday, Mr Samuel Daji, who appeared for EFCC, informed the court that Atteh was at the Supreme Court for another case.

He prayed the court for an adjournment.

There was no objection from defence.

EFCC had, on March 24, 2023, re-arraigned the defendants on an amended 49-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of false documents.

The anti-graft agency, in one of the counts, alleged that the defendants, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain N750 million from the Federal Government.

EFCC said that the defendants falsely represented subsidy accruing to Nasaman Oil Services Ltd. under the Petroleum Support Fund for importation of 10,031,986 litres of petrol which Nasaman Oil Services Ltd. purported to have purchased from SEATAC Petroleum Ltd. of British Virgin Islands and imported into Nigeria through MT Liquid Fortune Ltd.

The commission said that the defendants knew that the representation was false.

According to EFCC, the defendants committed the offences with one Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and one Olabisi Abdul-Afeez, still at large, on April 11, 2011, and Nov. 9, 2011, in Ikeja.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 1(3), 8 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006, and Sections 363 (3)(1) and 264 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until July 9 for continuation of trial.

Adenike Ayodele

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