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The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has told Justice C.A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, how Abubakar Ali Peters, Executive Director, Nadabo Energy Limited, confirmed making only one genuine transaction in the six transactions involved in the oil business with St. Vanessa.
Peters and his company are being prosecuted on 27 counts filed by the EFCC.
At the resumed proceedings of the matter on Wednesday, the defence counsel, E.O. Isiramen, continued with the cross-examination of Bawa, who is the fifth prosecution witness, PW5, in the ongoing trial of Peters and his company, for an alleged N1.4 billion fraud, which he began on December 20, 2021.
Bawa, while under cross-examination acknowledged that there were six transactions, but the accused only confirmed making one genuine transaction to the Commission.
“The defendant had only one confirmed, genuine transaction with St Vanessa. That was the one for about 5,000 MT,” he said.
According to him, in the course of the investigation, the EFCC contacted the owners of MT St Vanessa and the owners confirmed the position of the EFCC.
He said: “The owners of St Vanessa refuted the entirety of the content of Exhibits B24, B33, B43 in which the defendant claimed that MT St. Vanessa received about 14,000 MT of PMS and discharged 14,000 MT at Masters Energy.
“They refuted all of that, and said that their Vessel picked 6 million litres (about 5,000 MT) of PMS and discharged 6 million litres; and that anything contrary to that is unknown to them.
“They informed us that about 6 million litres were imported and discharged, and anything contrary is unknown to them.”
Bawa further testified that the other directors of the company are not being prosecuted by the EFCC because they are not involved in the alleged fraudulent transaction.
“The directors of Nadabo Energy Limited, who are not charged in this case, made oral and written statements to the EFCC. I reconfirm that the other directors are not charged by the EFCC because they were not involved in this transaction,” he said.
EFCC is prosecuting Nadabo Energy Limited and Peters for allegedly defrauding the Nigerian Government of N1,464,961,978.24 as oil subsidy.
The defendants were alleged to have forged documents to obtain the money after inflating the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also called petrol, purportedly imported and supplied by the company.
One of the counts read: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 3rd day of April, 2012 at Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N978,401,732.09 (Nine Hundred and Seventy-eight Million Four Hundred and One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-two Naira Nine Kobo) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 19,488,992 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which Nadabo Energy Limited purported to have purchased from Ashland SA Geneva Switzerland, and transported the 19,488,992 litres of PMS through MT American Express (Mother Vessel) and MT. St. Vanessa (Daughter Vessel) to Nigeria, whereas Nadabo Energy Limited only imported 6,505,140.04 litres of PMS to Nigeria through MT Evridiki (Mother Vessel) and MT St Vanessa (Daughter Vessel).”
Another count read: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 25th day of October 2011 at Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF), forged a document titled: Certificate of Marine Insurance no. 0047851 and purported the Marine Insurance certificate to have been issued by Staco Insurance Plc to Nadabo Energy Limited.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were arraigned on December 10, 2012.
After the cross-examination of Bawa, Justice Balogun adjourned the matter to July 6 and 7, 2022 for the continuation of cross-examination.