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Bawa makes history as first EFCC chair to testify in court, and gives further evidence against Nadabo Energy in N1.4 billion subsidy fraud

New EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa

WED 10 MARCH, 2021-theGBJournal-Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Wednesday gave evidence in court on the ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, for an alleged N1.4 billion subsidy fraud, making history as the first chairman of the Commission to give evidence in Court.

The case was called before Justice C.A Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

The EFCC boss testified as the fifth prosecution witness, PW5.

According to the EFCC, before today’s proceedings, Bawa had given evidence against the defendants, who pleaded ”not guilty” to the alleged fraud, stating that Nadabo Energy Limited allegedly obtained the sum of N1, 464, 961, 978.24 from the Federl Government as oil subsidy with forged documents.

Bawa had also told the court that, after studying the documents submitted to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regultory Agency (PPPRA), where the defendants claimed they imported about 14,000 metric tonnes of premium motor sprit (PMS), the EFCC conducted investigation which revealed the contrary.

”Contrary to the claim of the defendants a s par  Exhiit B, which they submitted to PPPRA to claim subsidy, the defendant imported only 4, 850 metric tonnes of PMS as opposed to 14, 000 metric tonnes that he claimed to have imported,” Bawa said.

The EFCC said that at the sitting on February 23, 2021, Justice Balogun had admitted in evidence an email correspondence between Bawa and Ullrich Afini Awani of Global Comodities African as well as the Certificates of identification.

At the resumed sitting today, Bawa, while being led in evidence by S.K Atteh, further gave insights into the alleged fraudulent activities exposed by the investigation.

He said: ”The email correspondences were analysed and we found out that the defendant, contrary to their claim, took about 6 million litres of PMS on board MT St Vanessa and the same quantity from the mother vessel, MT Eviridiki, into their own chartered vessel MT ST Vanessa. The email further confirmed that the same quantity was discharged at Port Harcourt. The email also showed that one Mr. Jide Ofor Akpan was the agent of the vessel-MT St Vanessa.”

He further told the court that, in furtherance of the investigation, Akpan was invited for questioning, where he confirmed that the first defendant, Nadabo Oil and Gas, through the second defendant, Ali Peters, chartered the vessel, MT ST Vanessa, and also paid for it.

The EFCC boss added that Akpan was confronted with the ”purported shipping documents” that the defendant submitted to the PPPRA for payment of subsidy.

According to him, ”He confirmed to us that the vessel, Vanessa, has nothing to do with MT American Express, which is the vessel which the defendant claimed to have given product to his own vessel, but that the St Vanessa loaded product from MT Eviridiki.”

Giving further evidence, Bawa said the EFCC wrote a letter of investigation activities to Petrocam, the traders who supplied the defendant the actual product that the imported, requesting that they furnish the Commission with all the financial and shipping documents with respect to the transaction under investigation.

Bawa, who told the court that Petrocam responded accordingly, identified the letter from the EFCC to Petrocam as well as the response received.

When the prosecution sought to tender the documents as evidence, the defence team led by E.O Isiramen, raised objections to the admissibility of the documents, which included Proforma Invoice, Commercial Invoice, letter of credit and other documents relating to the transaction.

The defence also raised objections to the admissibility of the response from the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), with respect to the investigation of the company, which the prosecution also sought to tender against the defendant.

After listening to both parties Justice Balogun adjourned till April 28 and 29, 2021 for ”ruling and continuation of hearing.”

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