The arraignment of oil company executives indicted by the fuel subsidy panel before an Ikeja High Court was stalled today due to the absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN.
Although all the 23 suspects in the matter were docked before Justice Habeeb Abiru, their plea was not taken because the the counsel to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, asked the court for an adjournment to enable the Attorney-General appear in the matter personally.
Oil marketers at Ikeja High Court today to face trial over alleged oil subsidy fraud: L-R: Mohammed Tukur, Nasir Ali and Christian Taylor. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye.
Williams told the court that the AGF had only arrived the country yesterday and requested that the matter be adjourned till Thursday to enable him appear.
Justice Abiru consequently adjourned the matter till tomorrow.
Those docked today are: Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakunde Babefemi, Ezekiel Ejide and Abdulahi Alao.
On 5 July this year, President Goodluck Jonathan set up a panel known as Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments to scrutinise and investigate payments made by the Federal Government to oil companies which imported subsidised fuel.
Chairman of the Committee and Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede submitted its findings to the President in Abuja yesterday.
In its report, the Committee indicted 21 fuel importing companies that allegedly collected money but did not import or supply fuel.
The committee recommended that the 21 indicted firms be prosecuted and made to pay N382 billion they had misappropriated. The companies and individuals were to be prosecuted for obtaining money under false pretences, fraud, stealing and other related offences.
Speaking with journalists, the committee chairman, AIG Imokhuade said the panel’s investigationw as meant to complement that of the EFCC.
Earlier, the House of Representatives had set up a panel to probe fuel subsidy payments. But the report of the panel was tinted because of the alleged bribery scandal involving Zenon Oil boss, Mr. Femi Otedola and Reps Committee panel chairman, Mr. Lawan Farouk Otedola alleged that Lawan demanded $620,000 from him.