By Kingsley Nwezeh
The pending trial of Mr. Abubakar Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, for an alleged fraud of 1.4 billion naira before Judge CA Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, continued yesterday with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, making history as the first chairman of the commission to testify in court.
An EFCC statement indicates that Bawa, who testified as the fifth prosecution witness, PW5, began his examination-in-chief on June 3, 2015 well before his appointment as EFCC chairman.
Prior to yesterday’s proceedings, Bawa had testified against the defendants, who pleaded “not guilty” to the alleged fraud.
Bawa had said that Nababo Energy Limited obtained N1,464,961,978.24 from the federal government as an oil subsidy with forged documents.
Bawa also told the court that after reviewing documents submitted to the Petroleum Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), where the defendants claimed to have imported around 14,000 metric tonnes of gasoline, the EFCC conducted an investigation. , which revealed the opposite.
âContrary to what the defendants claim as Exhibit B, which they submitted to PPPRA to seek a subsidy, the defendant only imported 4,850 metric tonnes of PMS (gasoline) against the 14,000 metric tonnes it claimed to have imported, âBawa said.
During the last session of February 23, 2021, Judge Balogun admitted into evidence an email correspondence between Bawa and Ullrich Afini Awani of Global Commodities Africa as well as the identification certificate.
When the session resumed yesterday, Bawa, while being led into evidence by SK Atteh, further provided insight into the alleged fraudulent activity revealed by the investigation.
He said: âThe emails were analyzed and we found out that the defendant, contrary to his allegations, had taken around six million liters of PMS on board the MT St Vanessa and the same amount from the mother ship, the MT Eviridiki, in their own chartered vessel, MT St Vanessa.
âThe email further confirmed that the same amount had been unloaded at Port Harcourt.
“The email also showed that a certain Mr. Jide Ofor Akpan was the vessel’s agent, namely MT St. Vanessa.”
He told the court that as a result of the investigation Akpan was invited for questioning and he confirmed that Nadabo Oil and Gas, through the second defendant, Ali Peters, chartered the vessel, MT St .Vanessa, and had paid it too.
Bawa added that Akpan was faced with the âalleged shipping documentsâ that the defendant submitted to PPPRA for payment of the subsidy.
According to him, “he confirmed to us that the vessel, Vanessa, has nothing to do with MT American Express, which is the vessel which the Respondent claimed to have given products to his own vessel, but which the St Vanessa loaded. products from MT Eviridiki. “
Bawa said the EFCC wrote a letter of investigative activities to Petrocam, the traders who provided the defendant with the actual product they imported, asking them to provide the commission with all financial documents and shipment relating to the transaction under investigation.
Bawa, who told the court that Petrocam responded, later identified the EFCC’s letter to Petrocam as well as the response received.
When the prosecution sought to produce the documents as evidence, the defense team, led by EO Isiramen, challenged the admissibility of the documents, which included a pro forma invoice, commercial invoice, letter of credit and others relating to the transaction.
The defense also raised objections to the admissibility of the response of the Commission des affaires corporatives (CAC) regarding the investigation into the company, which the prosecution also attempted to bring against the defendant.
After listening to both parties, Judge Balogun adjourned until April 28 and 29, 2021 to rule and continue the hearing.