Justice C.A.Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, adjourned till November 1, 2022, the case involving Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, over an alleged N1.4 billion fraud.
The EFCC is prosecuting Abubakar and his company, on 27-count charges, for allegedly using forged documents to obtain the sum of 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.”
At the resumed sitting on Tuesday, prosecuting counsel, S.K. Atteh, informed the court of the prosecution’s counter-affidavit to the application filed by the defence, urging the trial judge to recuse himself from the case over an alleged bias.
“Our counter-affidavit was filed on September 30, 2022 and same served on the defence,” he said.
The judge, however, noted that the court was not in possession of the counter-affidavit and that it was yet to be sighted by the court. In his submission, defence counsel, E.O. Isiramen, informed the court that the matter was slated for hearing of the application of the defence, urging the judge to stop sitting on the matter and for the continuation of the cross-examination of the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Isiramen also noted that he was yet to see a copy of the counter-affidavit. In response, Atteh explained that the said counter-affidavit was served on the Lagos office of the defendant.
A copy of the counter-affidavit was, thereafter, served on the defence in the open court and another copy submitted to the court. “We just brought it this morning,” Atteh added.
The judge noted that the defence was just seeing the document for the first time, adding that “we can continue with the main trial because the defence can raise this issue even at the address stage.”
The case was adjourned till Tuesday, November 1, 2022 “for hearing of the pending application and hearing of the main case.”