Army Hands Over Six Suspected Oil Thieves To EFCC
… As EFCC Declares German Citizen Wanted Over Subsidy Scam
… Secures Conviction Of Two Indians For Oil Theft
SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, (THEWILL) - The Nigerian Army on Friday June 13, 2014 handed over six suspected oil thieves and three vessels to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The suspects; Benard Omoaiwua, Tony Okundia, Osahenrumwen Osaguona, Osaro Arasomwan, Aaron Idahosa Terry, and Blessed Goodluck were arrested by officers of the Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army at the Abaji Military check point, Abuja with three trucks, each loaded with thirty three thousand litres (33,000) of suspected crude oil.
Colonel MT Usman said the suspects were arrested on May 31, 2014 on their way to Abuja, from Warri, Delta State.
At the time of arrest, the crew members allegedly had no approval to lift crude oil.
The suspects were received on behalf of the Commission by the Head, Extractive Industry Fraud Section, EIFS, Ibrahim Yidi.
The suspects, who are still being interrogated, will be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are concluded.
Meanwhile, the Commission has declared wanted one Amzat Mohmood for his alleged involvement in petroleum subsidy scam. Mohmood, a German citizen of Pakistani-extraction is an international petroleum trader, whose company, Nimex Petroleum Limited is involved in a case for which ASB Investment, Aro Samuel Bamidele and Abiodun Kayode Bankole are already standing trial before a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
Briefing journalists at the Commission office, Wilson Uwujaren, head, Media and Publicity, stated that Nimex Petroleum Limited is the company that allegedly sold and shipped 38,010,413 litres of Premium Motor Spirit to the defendants - ASB Investment, Aro Samuel Bamidele and Abiodun Kayode Bankole – for which they allegedly received N1,341,471,735.67 as subsidy for products that were never supplied.
Uwujaren also told the journalists that two Indian nationals, Sailesh Kumar Singh and Chadrashekar Sharma were successfully prosecuted by the Commission and convicted by the court. He said the duo were among oil thieves arrested in Brass, Bayelsa State in 2012 by the Joint Task Force with 157,822 litres of stolen crude oil. The convicts were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each. Uwujaren said the Commission from January 2013 to date investigated 21 cases of crude oil theft, arrested 81 suspects, while 11 tanker vessels, 16 tanker trucks were recovered.
On internet fraud, Uwujaren said the Commission is as determined as ever to stamp out the social malaise as it continues to clamp down on fraudsters.
'One Daniel Okpara who defrauded people through a facebook account he opened in the name of the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde. He lured his victims by promising them jobs with the Commission. As we speak, he is in prison, serving a three year jail term,' he said.
Uwujaren seized the opportunity to inform members of the public that the Commission was not recruiting staff and so should not be hoodwinked by fraudsters who go about deceiving people in the name of securing jobs for them in government parastatals.
'Recruitment by the EFCC is conducted in the most transparent manner. Usually, such exercise is heralded with advertisement in major national newspapers and there are no fees or charges for prospective employees,' he said.
He also informed the journalists that Lamorde does not have a private facebook account and that the Commission's presence in facebook is through its official facebook page: http//www.facebook.com/page/official-efcc.
On the Commission cooperation with sister agencies, Uwujaren said it has been very robust both locally and internationally. He said it was such cooperation that led to the arrest of one Jesse Omokoh, an internet fraudster who allegedly obtained the sum of $90,000 from a 67-year-old Australian woman, Jette Jacobs in a romance scam.
'Omokoh, 28, allegedly met the lady in an online dating site and struck a relationship with a promise to marry the woman. The lady relocated from Australia to South Africa in November and the accused person left Nigeria to meet her in Johannesburg on February 4, 2013. Unfortunately, five days later she was found dead in her apartment.'
He said the accused person fled South Africa but was arrested by the EFCC because of the collaboration it has with the Australian police. Also he said, officers of the Commission were recently in Australia and Spain, where they worked with their counterparts at the West Australia and Spanish National Police.
'Such engagements enable us to assist the host Agencies in pending trans-national investigations, while exposing our staff to international best practices', he said.
He said the Commission has also played host to investigators and prosecutors from Zambia, United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Niger, World Bank and Africa Development Bank; and signed international memorandum of understanding or joint working agreements other international partners such as British Serious Fraud Office, Economic Crimes Network (New Zealand) the Global Fund, United States Trade Commission, World Bank and a host of others.
Also, the EFCC on Monday arraigned Adedamola Ogungbayibi, Olaniran Olabode, Suraju Gasali, Moses Emmanuel, Wilson Bonsi, Padoun Kayode Jacob, Okparaodi Omaka Uche and Onyeogo Happy, before Justice Saliu Seidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a 5-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum product.
When the charges were read to them, they all pleaded not guilty.
One of the charges reads:
“That you MT Good Success, Hepa Global Energy Limited, Adedamola Ogungbayibi, Olaniran Olabode, Suraju Gasali, Moses Emmanuel, Wilson Bonsi, Padonu Kayode Jacob, Okparaodi Omaka Uche and Onyeogo Happy on or about the 19th day of February, 2014 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) without lawful authority or appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 19(6) and punishable under Section 17 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004″.
In view of their pleas, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was ready for trial and prayed that the trial be accelerated.
Justice Seidu however granted bail to the eight accused persons in the sum of N5million and two sureties each in like sum- one of whom must be a civil servant on grade level 15. Besides, all the accused persons must summit two passport-sized photographs each to the Court registrar.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till September 23, 2014.
The accused persons were arrested on February 19, 2014 by officers of the Nigeria Navy while on routine patrol.
The Nigeria Navy Ship, ANDONI intercepted MT GOOD SUCCESS and its crew on the Lagos waters. And upon inquiry, it was discovered that, while MT GOOD SUCCESS had the authority to carry 350 metric tons of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), it was loaded with 1,459 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).