EFCC excludes Diezani, Aluko from $1.6b charge against ex-NNPC directors, others

*Court grants N50m bail each to Omokore, others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made last minute adjustment to a $1.6billion charge it filed against associates of former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.The commission applied for the exclusion of the names of the former minister and a businessman, Kolawole Akanni Aluko, who were mention in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/121/2016.
Alison-Madueke (said to be at large)  was named in count 8 of the charge  and accused of “abetting the commission of money laundering,” by the those listed as defendants in the charge.

Aluko (also said to be at larage) was accused of engaging in conspiracy and money laundering and fraud.
The EFCC’s decision to exclude Alison-Madueke and Aluko from the charge was informed by the insistence of the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako that it was impossible to proceed with the arrangement yesterday when the ex-minister and Aluko were not in court and had not been served with the charge.

Although prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) argued that the arraignment could be done without Alison-Madueke and Aluko, who were merely mentioned in the charge, but not as defendants, the judge insisted that both names must either be excluded or they be served with the charge and produce in court before arraignment could take place.

Shortly after Jacobs applied for the exclusion of the names of the ex-minister and Aluko from the charge, the judge directed tha the charge be read to the defendants.

Those arraigned were businessman, Jide Omokore, former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Abiye Membere, Manager, Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo and twocompanies linked with Omokore – Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.

They were arraigned on a nine-count charge and accused of obtaining under false pretence and engaging in money laundering estimated at about $1,646,140,379.90.

Omokore was alleged to have used the Strategic Alliance Agreement signed between the NPDC and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited to swindle the NPDC and the Nigerian government of monies running into billions of dollars through the lifting of crude oil from some oil wells between March 2013 and May 2014.

The other accused persons who were senior management staff of the NNPC are accused of conspiracy in inducing the NPDC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited  and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.

“They were also accused receiving car gifts from Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

Following their plea of not guilty, Based on their plea, Jacobs, SAN, asked the court for a date for the commencement of trial.
Following an application from the defence team, Justice Nyako granted bail to the defendants at N50million each with a surety.
The judge said such surety must either be a director in the federal Civil Service or must have a landed property in the jurisdiction of the court.
She adjourned to October 19 for the commencement of trial
Part of the charge reads:
*That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May and October 2013 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, induced the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to you 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of US$616,013,615.27 (six hundred and sixteen million, thirteen thousand, six hundred and fifteen US dollars, twenty seven cents) through the medium of a contract (Strategic Alliance Agreement), which delivery was induced by false pretence to wit: the representation that you had technical competence, professional skills and funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support NPDC in petroleum operation for the OML 60, 61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap A6, 2010 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
*That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd between January and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court! By false pretence. And with the intent to defraud, induced the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to you 1,899,640 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of US$207,061,574.68 (two hundred and seven million, sixty one thousand, five hundred and seventy four UD dollars. And sixty eight cents) through the medium of a contract (Strategic Alliance Agreement) which delivery was induced by false pretence, to wit: the representation that you had technical competence, professional skills and funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support NPDC in petroleum operation for the OML 60,61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
*That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd between May2013 and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, obtained by false pretence and with the intent to defraud 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass crude) valued at the sum of US$823,075,189.95 (eight hundred and twenty three million, seventy five thousand, one hundred and eighty nine US dollars and ninety five cents) from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria on false pretence that you had funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support the NPDC Limited in petroleum. Operation for the OML 60, 61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap A6, 2010 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

*That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd, Victor, Abiye Membere and David Mbanefo between 2013 and 2014 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: obtaining property by false pretence by inciting the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). And the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) in total, valued at the sum of US$823,075,189.95 (eight hundred and twenty three million, seventy five thousand, one hundred and eighty nine dollars and ninety five cents) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap A6, 2010 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
*That you Olajide Jones Omokore,  Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd sometime in 2013 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: laundering of proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
* That you Olajide Jones Omokore,  Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko) now at large) sometime in May and October 2013 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did convert 5,652,22 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) into the sum of US$616,013,615.23 (six hundred and sixteen million, thirteen thousand, six hundred and fifteen US dolars, twenty seven cents) which you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act (to wit: stealing of the said crude oil) of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

 

THE NATION

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