The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa has told a Lagos High Court in the Ikeja Area of how an oil marketer, Abubakar Peters, and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, forged documents to obtain ₦1.4bn as subsidy from the Federal Government.
The EFCC boss, who was in the witness box for over 6 hours on Wednesday, gave extensive details of how the EFCC conducted its investigations and uncovered the fraud.
Through the witness, the court also admitted in evidence several documents as proof of the alleged fraud.
On Tuesday, the trial was stalled owing to the absence of the defence counsel. But on Wednesday morning, all parties were present in court including the star prosecution witness, Bawa.
Led in evidence by the Counsel to the Commission, Mr Seidu Atteh, the EFFC Chairman told the court how the commission in 2012 received a complaint from the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, alleging fraud in the importation of PMS by the firm Nadabo Energy Ltd. It equally received a petition from the law firm of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.
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These petitions and another from a civil society group formed the bedrock of the investigation against Abubakar Peters and his company.
A special team constituted by the EFCC to probe the subsidy regime questioned officials of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the CBN, Enterprise Bank, the Debt Management Office, DMO, Nigeria Port Authorities, NPA, NIMASA, the Nigerian Navy and many other companies involved in dealing with Nadabo Energy Limited.
The team found that the defendant forged all documents, leading to the subsidy payment of N1.4bn by inflating the quantity of the petroleum products he imported.
When the EFCC sought to put into evidence documents to back this testimony,the defence counsel, Osagie Isiramen, raised objections to their admissibility.
After listening to arguments for and against, Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya overruled the objections and held that the documents were properly obtained during the course of EFCC’s investigations.
Mr Bawa will be back in court on the 1st of November for his cross-examination.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK