Senator Iroegbu and Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government will on July 4, 2016, arraign a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, an oil magnate and owner of Atlantic Energy Limited, Jide Omokore, and others before at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
But for the inability of the prosecution to bring the accused together in court, their arraignment would have taken place yesterday before Justice Binta Nyako.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacob (SAN), while confirming the development, said since all the suspects were not in court, the prosecution would not want to arraign them piecemeal.
“The accused persons are scattered across the country and we are trying to avoid a situation whereby the accused persons will be arraigned separately.
“What we are trying to do now is to gather all the accused persons and I believe we should be able to arraign them on July 4,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs further disclosed that the prosecution would be amending the charges against the accused.
Others to be arraigned alongside Yakubu and Omokore are Victor Briggs, Abiye Memnere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
Atlantic Energy Limited was one of the companies that was allegedly allocated multi-billion dollar in public assets without due process by the Dr Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2011.
The company, which was created less than a year earlier (2010) and had not produced a drop of oil, was awarded controlling stakes in two prolific oil blocks – OML 30 and 34 – for just over $50 million each.
The deal, which was signed by the immediate past Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave Atlantic Energy Limited the controlling stake of 55 per cent stake in the oil blocks.
It was discovered that Shell, which owned the remaining 45 per cent stake, fetched $1.3 billion for a single field after an open and competitive bidding process.
The company was also accused of lifting crude oil, but only remitted a fraction of the value to the government.
It was also discovered that Atlantic Energy paid $168 million into the government’s account in 2012, but lifted about three million barrels – valued at over $350 million.
In 2013, it also lifted about 2 million barrels of crude oil valued at about $240 million, but paid only $68 million, while in 2014, it paid zero cash-call, but lifted about 500,000 barrels of crude oil, valued at $54 million.
SPOG, another of Omokore’s companies, is also being investigated for an alleged N400 million petrol import fraud.
The company was alleged to have imported 3,000 metric tonnes of petrol but filed claims for subsidy payment of 13,000 metric tonnes with the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), therefore allegedly pocketing N400 million more than it should have been paid.
The EFCC recently raided the business premises of Omokore, making away with documents and computers.
Last week, it also rearrested Omokore and Yakubu on allegations of money laundering.
This was disclosed by a source from the commission, that said Omokore and Yakubu, were supposed to be arrainged at the Federal High Court yesterday on four counts of money laundering.
“Other defendants to be charge are Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited,” the source had revealed.