The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has obtained an order of interim forfeiture against Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, the company managed by Ada Ugo-Ngadi and Walter Wagbatsoma, who were sentenced to 10 years in prison for fuel subsidy fraud in January 2017.
Justice Hadiza Shagari of the the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, granted the order forfeiting N1.96 billion, allegedly belonging to Ontario Oil and Gas, to the commission.
The order was issued on Monday following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC asking the court to retain the money in its possession until its investigation on the funds is concluded.
The EFCC said the money was acquired from the fraudulent sale of refined petroleum.
The court ordered, “That the property mentioned in paragraphs nine of the affidavit viz., Renoir Logistics Ltd., currently under investigation, be interim attached/forfeited pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution of the case.
“That the said property attached/forfeited, ad-interim, be managed and controlled by the EFCC.”
In the suit labeled FHC/L/CS/1464/17, the anti-graft agency joined Ontario Oil and Gas Ltd, and Mrs. Ugo-Ngadi, Managing Director of the company, as first and second respondents, respectively.
An affidavit of urgency deposed to by an investigating officer of the EFCC, Abdulkarim Acheneje, in support of the ex parte motion, said, “that the EFCC received a petition from Ms. Joan Ganadanu, a legal practitioner, against the second respondent, complaining of diversion and conversion of proceeds of sale of refined petroleum products valued at N1.96 billion.
“That the petition alleged that the first respondent is a customer to Union Bank Plc, of Stallion Plaza branch, Marina Lagos.
“That union bank granted a loan facility to the first respondent to the tune of 70 million US dollars to import and/or purchase locally refined petroleum products PMS, DPK and AGO.
“That the loan was to be repaid from the sale of the products and the second respondent guaranteed repayment of the said loan personally.
“That further investigation revealed that the respondents have lifted the product on the order financed by the bank for 10,000 metric tons of AGO, since July 2016.
“That the respondents have sold same, but have refused to lodge the proceeds in the company’s account, and pay back the facility to union bank among other financial infractions.”
Justice Lateefa Okunnu of Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, who sentenced Mrs. Ugo-Ngadi and Mr. Wagbatsoma, also ordered Mrs. Ugo-Ngadi to refund N754 million she defrauded from the federal government.
While reading the judgment, the justice noted that the convicts defrauded the federal government of Nigeria in oil subsidy transactions totaling N1.9 billion.