Friday, 24 May 2013
Subsidy Fraud Trial: Court Adjourns Case As EFCC Rejects Fraudster's Offer To Resolve Issues With Bank
The trial of three persons accused of fuel subsidy fraud was today adjourned by an Ikeja High Court following a request by a defendant’s counsel, Mr. Olanipekun, to have his client Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, settle matters with Stanbic IBTC Bank. The accused are Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, Habilla Theck and Fago Petroleum and Gas Ltd.
Prosecutors of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) rejected Mr. Ogumbambo offer as “laughable” and proceeded to restate to the court that the first defendant, Ogunbambo, was deeply implicated in the subsidy fraud case. His level of involvement caused Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo to deny him bail even as the judge approved the bail application for other suspects arraigned alongside him.
Mr. Ogunbambo was accused of using multiple fake identities to transact fraudulent schemes. In addition, he was found to be in possession of more than one international passport, enabling him to travel abroad even while being investigated.
The EFCC also alleged that Mr. Ogunbambo obtained separate loans totaling about N1.2 billion from Stanbic IBTC Plc in 2010 with forged documents. In court, his counsel disputed the amount in question, putting the figure at N230 million. Mr. Ogunbambo’s counsel pleaded with the court to allow his client to resolve the financial issues with Stanbic IBTC Bank. He told the court that a meeting was scheduled with the bank’s management at 1.00 p.m. today. Justice Onigbanjo thereafter adjourned the trial to December 5 and 6 in order to allow for the outcome of the meeting between the accused and the bank.
Another application for bail by Mr. Ogunbambo preceding the commencement of today’s trial was also adjourned to December 6, 2012, even though another judge, Lateefa Folami, had granted him bail.
In his application for bail before Justice Onigbanjo, Mr. Ogunbambo’s counsel tried hard to present his client in a rather modest light. However the EFCC counsel insisted that the accused has a notorious criminal history and does not deserve sympathy or bail.
The EFCC argued that, while still being investigated, Mr. Ogunbambo traveled outside of the country despite the fact that he had already submitted his international passport with the anti-graft agency. The agency’s counsel said that the development showed that Mr. Ogunbambo had other traveling passports different from the seized one. The EFCC also accused Mr. Ogunbambo of operating three different accounts as well as using false documents to claim funds from banks.
The EFCC had a witness who was to testify today had the trial proceeded. The witness, who is from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), was to buttress the allegations made by the commission against the defendants.