Mr Mahmud Tukur
Some of the directors of Oil Marketing and Trading Companies (OM&Ts) remanded in custody after their arraignment last month for perpetrating fraud in the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF), have regained their freedom after meeting their bail terms.
THISDAY learnt Monday that the defendants, who were variously arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru and Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Ikeja High Court on offences bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, forgery and use of false documents preferred against them by the Economic and Crimes Commission (EFCC) were released on bail after meeting their bail conditions.
Among those that met the bail terms are: Mahmud Tukur, son of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; Nasamu Ali, son of former PDP chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali; Abdullahi Alao, son of prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arikesola-Alao; and other directors of oil-marketing firms.
Walter Wagbatosma, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi and Ezekiel Olaleye Ejidele have also been released after meeting their bail conditions.
However, THISDAY gathered that one of the defendants, Fakunade Babafemi Ebenezer, was still in custody as he is yet to perfect his bail conditions.
The EFCC had in July arraigned Mahmud Tukur, Nasamu Ali and Abdullahi Alao before the Ikeja High Court in Lagos for fraud.
Tukur was arraigned alongside Alao, Ochonogor Alex and Eternal Oil and Gas Plc. before Justice Onigbanjo.
Nasaman Oil Services, Mamman Nasir Ali and Christian Taylor were also put on trial for committing fraud through the PSF.
The defendants are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents in which the EFCC alleged that they had between January and April 2011 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained N1.8 billion from the Federal Government under the PSF.
They were also alleged to have forged a bill of lading dated April 28, 2011, which they used in facilitating the fraud.
Onigbanjo, in a ruling on the bail applications filed by their counsel, Messrs Wole Olanipekun and Olawale Akoni, granted them bail in the sum of N20 million each with two sureties in like sum.
The judge said one of the sureties must be a blood relative of the accused with a landed property in Lagos worth not less than N100 million, and must be accompanied by verifiable title documents.
The judge ruled that the other surety must be a Grade Level 16 officer in Lagos State or Federal Civil Service.
Wagbatosma, Ugo-Ngadi, Ebenezer, Ejidele and Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited were arraigned before Justice Abiru on a nine-count charge.