BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday arraigned two directors of two oil service companies, Ogbor Kehinde Eliot, Godwin Okoronkwo before the Federal High Court in Lagos over a N7 billion fraud.
The duo were docked alongside the oil firms, Danium Energy Services Ltd and Petrosol Energy Ltd by the EFCC on a ten counts charge of defrauding a new generation bank of the sum ofN7,802,649,000 under false pretence.
The commission accused the defendants of presenting forged documents to the bank after claiming to have been awarded multi-billion naira contracts by Total Nigeria Plc.
The anti-graft agency also alleged that the defendants claimed they got contracts to supply thousands of metric tonnes of diesel and needed funding.
EFCC, in the charge signed by prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, said the four, on or about October 5, last year, in Lagos, with intent to defraud, conspired to induce the bank to deliver N1,573,146,000 to Danium Energy Services.
The commission said it was under the false pretense that Total Nigeria Plc contracted Danium Energy Services to supply 10,000 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) for N1,990,440,000.00 .
EFCC said the accused persons, on November 15, last year, with intent to defraud, induced the bank to deliver N1,573,146,000 to Danium Energy Services.
The commission said Eliot and Danium Energy Services on or about January 30 in Lagos conspired to induce the bank to deliver N3,339,225,000 to Danium Energy Services.
EFCC said they claimed that Total Nigeria Plc, through a letter dated January 30, contracted Danium Energy Services to supply 15,000 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) for N4,103,100,000.
Eliot and Danium Energy Services were alleged to have collected the N3,339,225,000 from the bank on February 3.
The prosecution said on February 9, Eliot and Danium Energy Services allegedly conspired to induce the bank to deliver N2,890,278,000 to Danium Energy Services.
According to EFCC, they pretended that Total Nigeria Plc, vide a February 9 letter, with Ref No: OPS/SUP/02/17/125, contracted Danium Energy Services to supply 15,000 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) for N4,015,800,000.
They were said to have collected the money on February 17 in Lagos by inducing the bank to “deliver” it to Danium Energy Services.
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
The defendants were also accused of “uttering” (presenting) a forged document dated October 5, 2016 with Ref No: OPS/SUP/10/16/361 to the bank.
The alleged offence is contrary to Section 19(6) and punishable under Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The accused persons were also accused of “uttering” of a forged document dated January 30 with Ref No: OPS/SUP/01/17/084 to the bank.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Based on their plea, the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo stated asked the court for a trial date and accelerated hearing of the case.
In response, counsel to the first and third defendants, Israel Ayoade informed the court of a pending application for bail he filed on behalf of his clients.
Ayoade also prayed the court that his clients be remanded in EFCC custody pending the hearing and determination of the said bail application.
On his part, lawyer to the second and forth defendants, Ilechukwu Emmanuel urged the court to hear the bail applications rally.
He also called the court’s attention to the fact the the defendants have been in the custody of the EFCC for a long time.
But Oyedepo told the court that he needed time to respond to the bail applications.
He also asked the court to remand the defendants in Prisons custody.
In her ruling, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the EFCC until Wednesday, October 11, 2017 when their bail applications would be heard.