EFCC Docks 5 Over N25 million Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday October 13, 2010 arraigned five suspects: Luqman Babalola, Herbert Ogunwale, Olurotimi Ogunwale, Gbolagade Alayande and Batun Oil & Gas Limited before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, on a two count charge for offences bordering on fraudulent conversion with intent to steal over N25 million.
All the five accused however pleaded not guilty when the two counts were read to them.
Counsel to EFCC, George Adebowale then asked the court to fix a date for trial as the Commission was ready with evidence. However, counsel to the accused persons, Barrister A. Odebowale, told the court that he was with his bail application which he intends to serve the prosecution and therefore asked the court to give a short adjournment for them argue on the bail application.
He also pleaded with the court to remand the accused persons in EFCC custody pending the determination of their bail application. The prosecution counsel however told the court that the Commission cannot accommodate the accused persons in its custody as its facilities were already overstretched.
Justice H. A. O. Abiru adjourned the case to October 21 for the hearing on the bail application and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi Prison.
Trouble began for the accused persons when a 30 year old businessman, Atiku Rufau of Tikse Energy Limited petitioned the EFCC stating that the accused persons had defrauded him of N25 million. Part of it reads: 'We had an agreement with Batun Oil and Gas of 3 rd floor Koriko Towers Commercial Road, Apapa to pay for petroleum product (A.G.O) at their Afribank Account No. 0831757752618 since June 2009 as evidenced in their bank statement of account… unfortunately the said product has not been released or supplied to us after three months of payment.'
Count one of the charges against the accused reads: 'Conspiracy to commit felony to wit, stealing by fraudulent conversion contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Law CAP C17 Vol 2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003. Particulars of Offence: Luqman Babalola, Herbert Ogunwale, Olurotimi Ogunwale, Gbolagade Alayande and Batun Oil & Gas Limited, sometime in June 2009 at Apapa within the Ikeja Division with intent to defraud, conspired to steal and fraudulently convert monies from Atiku Abubakar Rafau and Tiske Energy Limited.'
Count two reads:
'Stealing by fraudulent conversion contrary to Section 390 (8) (b) and (9) of the Criminal Code Law CAP C17 Vol 2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003. Particular of Offences: Luqman Babalola, Herbert Ogunwale, Olurotimi Ogunwale, Gbolagade Alayande and Batun Oil & Gas Limited, sometime in June 2009 at Apapa within the Ikeja Division with intent to defraud knowingly and fraudulently converted the sum of N25,348,000.00 (twenty five million hundred and forty eight thousand naira) property of Atiku Abubakar Rafau and Tiske Energy Limited.'