Alleged N1.4bn Oil Fraud Court Adjourns Nadabo Energy Boss’ Trial Till March 1

The ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, for an alleged N1.4billion fraud before Justice C.A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, continued on January 25, 2022, with the continuation of cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness , PW5, Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The EFCC is prosecuting Abubakar and his company on a 27-count charge for allegedly using forged documents to obtain N1, 464,961,978.24 from the Federal Government as oil subsidy, after allegedly inflating the quantity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, purportedly imported and supplied by the company.

One of the counts reads: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 3rd day of April, 2012 at Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N978,401,732.09 (Nine Hundred and Seventy-eight Million Four Hundred and One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-two Naira Nine Kobo) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum represented subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 19,488,992 litres of Premium Motor Spirit  (PMS), which Nadabo Energy Limited purported to have purchased from Ashland SA Geneva Switzerland, and transported the 19,488,992 litres of PMS through MT American Express  (Mother Vessel) and MT. St. Vanessa  (Daughter Vessel) to Nigeria, whereas Nadabo Energy Limited only imported 6,505,140.04 litres of PMS to Nigeria through MT Evridiki (Mother Vessel) and MT St Vanessa  (Daughter Vessel).”

Another count reads: “Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 25th day of October 2011 at Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining money by false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Petroleum Support Fund  (PSF) forged a document titled: Certificate of Marine Insurance no. 0047851 and purported the Marine Insurance certificate to have been issued by Staco Insurance Plc to Nadabo Energy Limited.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

At today’s proceeding, the defence counsel, E.O. Isiramen, continued with the cross-examination of Bawa, which began on December 20, 2021.

Under cross-examination, Bawa identified Exhibit B as the bundle of documents submitted to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, for processing the subsidy funds claimed by the defendant.

“This is the bundle of documents submitted by the defendant to the PPPRA, which we requested from the agency for the certified true copy and they obliged us,” he said.

Bawa also identified Exhibit W as the bundle of documents furnished to the EFCC by the defendant. 

He further confirmed that the covering letter as seen in Exhibit B was signed by Ted Okonkwo, Head, Port Harcourt Zone of PPPRA, whom he said “acted, to the best of our knowledge, based on the documents available to him and information received allegedly.”

When questioned further, Bawa said: “The EFCC looked at the bigger picture and concentrated on what the government had lost in the entire scheme of the alleged fraud and took a decision on who to charge.”

When asked about the role of Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, particularly the documents they contributed to allegedly obtain subsidy funds for the defendant, Bawa told the Court that “Through our investigation, we found out that the content of the documents submitted, including a letter written by Masters Energy to PPPRA that the defendant discharged 14,000MT equivalent to about 19,000,000 litres of PMS in their tank farm is false”.

He further told the Court that “The EFCC is carrying out a holistic investigation of the company itself regarding its activities.

“From our findings, some documents from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, were also false.”

The case has been adjourned till March 1 and 22, 2022.