Four members of the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Verification, who allegedly received gratification from the Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd., on Wednesday appeared in court on three counts.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee members were arraigned before a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, along with three executive officers of the oil company, who allegedly offered them N1.5m as gratification.
The committee members are Buhari Ganiyu (37), Alalade Abioye (30), Oni Oluwanishola (34) and Chukwujekwu Akabueze, whose age was not stated.
Alalade and Akabueze are women.
Those from the Integrated Oil and Gas are: the Managing Director, Anthony Ihenacho, 57; Assistant General Manager, Humphrey Nwosu, 44; and Financial Controller, Akinwusi Julius, 50.
The three of them are males.
All the defendants are standing trial for alleged conspiracy, offering and receiving of gratification.
They, however, pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, SP Asuquo Effiong, said the company executives, had on August 30 at the company’s office at Marine Road, Apapa, given the money to the committee as gratification.
He said the committee members were being prosecuted for receiving the money in order to refrain from exercising their duties according to the rules.
Effiong said the offences contravened Sections 409, 64, and 63 (1)(a)(b) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011.
The magistrate, Mr. Martins Owumi, earlier turned down their bail application on personal recognition, and later granted each of them bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.
He adjourned the case till November 10 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the alleged $620,000 bribe offered by businessman Femi Otedola to the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mr. Farouk Lawan, has remained unresolved.
Otedola allegedly offered Lawan the bribe to compromise the committee’s recommendations on an oil firm in which the businessman was said to have interest.
The Force Headquarters had instituted a panel to investigate the scandal but the report of the panel has been kept secret since the conclusion of the probe.
But more than two months after the bribery scandal was uncovered, the controversy has deepened with the police laying the blame for their inability to arraign the parties involved in the fraud at the doors of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke.