Mamman Nasir Alli
Akinwale Akintunde in Lagos and Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Lagos Branch Manager of Inspectorate Marine Services Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chidi Onyejokwe thursday, told an Ikeja High Court that some documents with which Mamman Nasir Alli, and his co-defendants used to facilitate their alleged N4.4 billion fuel subsidy fraud were forged.
The revelation also came on a day the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned Messrs Ifeanyi Anosike, Emeka Chukwu, Ngozi Ekeoma; Anosyke Group of Companies and Dell Energy Limited, before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and forgery amounting to N1, 537,278,880.82 being payments fraudulently received from the petroleum subsidy fund for a purported supply of 15,000 metric tonnes of petrol.
But Onyejokwe, the second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Nasaman Oil and Gas, Alli, Christian Taylor and Seun Ogunbambo, over fuel subsidy scam told the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo that the documents though bearing the logos, signatures and stamps of his company never emanated from his company.
The said documents, according to the witness, included cargo transfer, certificate of quantity, certificate of quality and haulage reports.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Nasaman Oil and Gas, Alli, who is the son of Dr. Ahmadu Alli, a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Christian Taylor and Seun Ogunbambo, to court for allegedly obtaining N4,460, 130,797.94 from the Federal Government under false pretence.
The EFCC alleged that the sum was fraudulently obtained as subsidy payments from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 30.5million litres of petrol from SEATAC Petroleum Limited of British Virgin Islands.
Onyejokwe, while being led in evidence by the EFCC’s counsel, Francis Usani, told the court that the documents which include certificates of cargo transfer, certificate of quality, certificate of quantity, hurlage reports etc, were sent to his company by the EFCC for authenticity.
Onyedikwe said in November 2011, the EFCC wrote the company to authenticate some documents allegedly used by the Nassaman Oil Services to collect fuel subsidy.
“Sometime in November 2012, we received a letter from EFCC with about 27 pages attached documents, asking us to verify the authenticity of the documents.
“Upon receipt of this letter, we went through the 27 documents to ascertain if they emanated from Inspectorate Marine Services Nigeria Limited. We went through our operational, laboratory and account records.
“After thorough checks to ensure that we do not make mistake, we replied the EFCC that we did not partake in those transactions. Those documents did not emanate from our company even though it was bearing our logos, stamps and signatures,” he stressed.
He said the haulage report showed that the defendants had imported the petroleum products and that his company had inspected the products.
“The signature does not appear to be any of our signatures,” Onyedikwe said.
Following his testimony, Usani urged the court to admit the EFCC letter, the 27 documents and the reply by the company as exhibits.
Counsel to the defendants, Messrs Kolade Obafemi and Gbenga Oyewole, however, urged the court to reject the documents arguing that it contravened Sections 83 of the Evidence Act 2011.
Justice Onigbanjo, however, dismissed the objections of the defence and admitted the documents and letters as Exhibits A to A28 and B and B1 respectively.
The matter was adjourned till March 20 for cross-examination of the witness.
Meanwhile, the EFCC in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the re-arraignment of the five defendants, followed the elevation of Justice Habeeb Abiru, the first trial judge to the Court of Appeal.
The case was re-assigned to Justice Onigbanjo before whom the defendants took fresh pleas. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Defence counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), told the court that all the defendants had earlier been admitted to bail by the first trial judge and prayed the court to allow them continue enjoying the bail on the same conditions.
EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) did not object to the prayers of Nwobike, but sued for an early trial date.
Justice Onigbanjo granted the prayers of Nwobike and admitted the defendants to bail on the previous terms.
He adjourned the case till July 3 and 4, 2013 for commencement of trial.