Fuel subsidy scam: Court refuses application by Tukur, Ochonogor to be discharged
An application filed by two oil marketers, Mahmud Tukur and Alex Ochonogor, praying the seeking discharge from the case of oil subsidy fraud has thrown out by a Lagos High Court. Presided by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.
The judge described the application as premature.
The two oil marketers are being arraigned by in relation to a N1.8bn fuel subsidy fraud.
The two marketers were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission e along with their companies allegedly obtained N1.8bn from the Federal Government, under the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
Tukur and Ochonogor, had through their lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetib (SAN),
argued that the proof of evidence did not support the offences levelled against them.
According to Oyetibo, the criminal charge is an abuse of court processes which should not allow to subsist.
He saidthat the charge arose from a joint venture agreement between Eterna Plc, Axenergy Ltd., Sahara Energy Resources and Ontario Oil for the importation of fuel.
He told the court that Section 10 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act did not empower the EFCC to charge this clients to court for transactions carried out by a third party, Eterna Plc.
The judge however refused to see things Oyetibo's way.
He asked the lawyer to wait till the prosecution closes its case before raising the issue of lack of sufficient evidence against the defendants.
” It is the law that the court cannot delve into substantive issues at the interlocutory stage.
“Section 260 (2) of the ACJL provides that an objection to the sufficiency of the proof of evidence shall not be raised until the closure of the prosecution's case, the judge said.
“The provision is a mandatory requirement which renders the application premature.”
The matter was subsequently adjourned till Sept.15 for commencement of trial.