The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, May 9, 2014, told Justice Adebisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, that Abdullahi Alao and his company, Axenergy Limited, who are facing trial over a N2.6billion oil subsidy fraud, manipulated the product supply chain and a bill of laden presented to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA in order to claim higher subsidy payments.

Principal Prosecution Witness,Lawal Akhmed, an investigator with the EFCC told the court that, in the subsidy claim for second quarter 2011, Axenergy submitted a bill of laden for MT Allegra through MT Dalphina and to the depot of discharge, which run counter to the actual product supply chain of MT Capetaft through MT Starling to MT Dalphina and finally to the depot for discharge. The implication of this is that, by not following the actual product supply chain, higher oil subsidy claims accrued to Alao and his company.

In the third quarter, a similar doctored chain of bill of laden was submitted for claims. MT Nippon Princess to MT Gavros final depot was submitted while the true bill of laden should have been: MT Athiri to MT Gavros and finally depot of discharge. This finding was done through the Lloyds listing and Mecuria Energy, a company based in Australia which specialises in detecting vessel movement on water.

Prosecution counsel, E A Jackson, tendered various documents through Akhmed and they were all admitted as exhibits P3a to P12. Defense counsel, Taiwo Osepitan, SAN, while cross examining the witness,asked how he determined what should be the actual payment for the subsidy claims, since Akhmed is not a staff of PPPRA or trained by it. Akhmed told the court that, all Operatives assigned to the oil subsidy investigations, were trained by the agency and an external body on how the calculations are done.

Abdullahi Alao and Axenergy Limited are facing a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. The defendant and his company, a allegedly obtained the sum of N2,640, 141, 707.75 ( Two Billion, Six Hundred and Forty Million; One Hundred and Forty One Thousand; Seven Hundred and Seven Naira, Seventy Five Kobo ) being payments obtained from the Petroleum Support Fund for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

Justice Akinlade adjourned the case to July 2, September 17 and October 8, 2014 for continuation of trial.

Wilson Uwujaren
Head, Media & Publicity
8th May, 2014

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