The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday re-arraigned Abdulahi Alao, the son ofa prominent Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Abdulazeez Alao-Arisekola, before an Ikeja High Court over his alleged involvement in a N2.6 billion fuel subsidy scam.
Alao was re-arraigned alongside his company, Axenergy Ltd., before Justice Olabisi Akinlade on a six-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
The defendants were earlier arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru on July 26, 2012.
Their re-arraignment was however necessitated by the elevation of Justice Abiru to the Court of Appeal.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and Abiru granted him bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.
At yesterday’s proceedings, EFCC counsel, Mr. Francis Usani, informed the court of the development and asked that Alao be ordered to re-take his plea.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Alao had in December 2010 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N2.6 billion from the federal government.
EFCC said the money was obtained as subsidy payments for the purported importation of 33.3 millions litres of petrol from Europe.
He was also alleged to have forged a bill of lading dated September 16, 2011, purportedly issued by Mercurial Trading Company, which he allegedly used in facilitating the fraud.
Alao again pleaded not guilty to the charge.
His counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), however urged the court to allow him to continue to enjoy the bail condition earlier granted him by Abiru.
In a related development, an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, has challenged an Ikeja High Court’s jurisdiction to hear the alleged N430 million bank fraud charge preferred against him by the EFCC.
Ogunbambo, in the application dated February 13, 2013, filed through his counsel, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), said the issue raised by EFCC before the court presided by Justice Olabisi Akinlade as a criminal charge was purely a civil matter.
The EFCC had charged Ogunbambo to court for allegedly obtaining a N430 million loan from Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, using forged documents.
Adenipekun said the dispute between the defendant and the bank is also pending before the Lagos High Court as a civil matter.
“The defendant has paid a part of the loan and has entered into agreement to pay the balance.”
“The bank has withdrawn its complaint against the defendant.”
He said the charge was therefore oppressive and an abuse of court process.
Mr. Francis Usani, EFCC counsel, informed the court that the prosecution was served with the application a few days ago and needed time to respond.
The judge granted his request and adjourned the matter to March 27 to hear all pending applications.