A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till May 15th and 17th the criminal trial of a petroleum marketer, Olaniran Ogundipe, and his company, Petroleum Broker Nigeria Limited. The oil marketer and his company are facing trial for allegedly defrauding the Nigerian government of N1.3 billion in fuel subsidy payments.
At the resumed trial of the accused on Wednesday, one of the prosecution witnesses, Mrs Runsewe Falana tendered some documents which were admitted in evidence.
Under cross examination by the defence counsel , Mr Ayoade Olumofin, the prosecution witness told the court that her company, Consolidated Hallmark Iinsurance company never issued Marine Insurance Certificate documents which was used to obtain the sum of N1.3 billion from the Federal Government.
Falana said Petroleum Broker Limited did not pay any premium. She added that she got to know about the certificate when her company was invited to the Police Special Fraud Unit Prosecutors.
The Special Fraud Unit of the Nigerian Police force had on March 19, 2014, arraigned Ogundipe and his company, Petroleum brokers Limited before the court.
In an amended criminal charge filed before the court, the accused and other persons now at large were alleged to have illegally obtained the sum of N1.323, 162, 160.76 billion as subsidy from the Federal Government of Nigeria under false pretense.
The accused, were said to have committed the offence between the months of January and April, 2011, reportedly claimed that they imported and sold 17,837,160 liters of fuel.
The accused reportedly claimed they had brought in the fuel on MT Aidin (formerly known MT Stena FR8).
According to prosecution, the accused also forged import and vessel documents which they used to obtain the sum of N1.3 billion from the Federal Government
Ogundipe and his firm were also alleged to have forged a Certificate of Quality, which they claimed was issued by SGS Inspection Services Nigeria Limited, and used same to obtain the subsidy payment.
The offences alleged to have been committed by accused oil marketer and his oil company were said to have violated Sections 8(c),1(1)(a),(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offenses Act, 2006, and Sections 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2006, and Sections 467(1) and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
Ogundipe, who entered a plea of not guilty, is currently on bail.