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Alleged N2.2bn Oil Subsidy Fraud: EFCC Presents Additional Witness Against Mamman Ali, One Other

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, March 25, 2024, presented another prosecution witness, Popoola Olayiwola, a staff of the Debt Management Office, DMO, against Mamman Nasir Ali and Christian Taylor, who is being prosecuted for an alleged N2.2bn oil subsidy fraud, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

They were arraigned alongside Nasaman Oil Services Limited on amended 49-count charges  bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, contrary to Section 8 and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; obtaining money by false pretences, contrary to Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006; forgery, contrary to Section 363 (3)(j) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011; and use of false documents contrary to Section 364 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

One of the counts reads: “Nasaman Oil Services Ltd, Mamman Nasir Ali, Christian Taylor, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo (now at large) and Olabisi Abdul-Afeez (still at large), on or about the 9th day of November 2011 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N749,991,273.36 (Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-One Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-Three Naira Thirty-six Kobo) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely claiming that the sum of N749,991,273.36 represented subsidy accruing to Nasaman Oil Services Ltd under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 10,031,986 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which Nasaman Oil Services Ltd purported to have purchased from SEATAC Petroleum Ltd of British Virgin Islands and imported into Nigeria through MT Liquid Fortune Ltd of British Virgin Islands and imported into Nigeria through MT Liquid Fortune Ltd Ex MT Overseas Lima, which representation you knew to be false.”

Another count reads: “Nasaman Oil Services Ltd, Mamman Nasir Ali, Christian Taylor, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo (now at large) and Olabisi Abdul-Afeez (still at large),on or about the 11th day of April 2011 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N1,480,074,125.61 (One Billion Four Hundred and Eighty Million, Seventy-Four Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-Five Naira Sixty-One Kobo) from the Federal Government of Nigeria by claiming that the sum represented subsidy accruing to Nasaman Oil Services Ltd under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 20,492,982.50 litres of Premium Motor Spirit  (PMS),which Nasaman Oil Services Ltd purported to have purchased from SEATAC Petroleum Ltd of British Virgin Islands and imported into Nigeria through MT Liquid Fortune Ex Mt. Hellenic Blue and Ex MT. Milleura, which representation you knew to be false.”

They pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.

They were initially standing trial before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

However, Justice Onigbanjo withdrew from the case,thereby prompting the re-assignment  of the case to Justice Dada.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, the prosecution witness, Olayiwola, told the court that his designation was Operations Officer 1 as at the time the Sovereign Debt Note, SDN, in contention was issued.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, S.K. Atteh, Olayiwola said: “I’m Assistant Chief Operations Officer in the DMO now.  In 2012, I was in charge of preparation of SDN in favour of oil marketers for their subsidy claim. I also prepare letters of issuance notification to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and supervise the collection of SDN by oil marketers”.

Olayiwola told the court that he was also in charge of preparing redemption letters at the maturity of SDN to the CBN. “I also do reconciliation with CBN on the SDN,” he added.

Olayiwola explained that SDN was the short term financial instrument issued by the DMO under the Petroleum Support Fund, which was operated by the Federal Government of Nigeria between 2010 and 2015.

He further highlighted the various features of the SDN, which he said included the crest of the Federal Government, which is the issuer of the SDN; the amount of subsidy claimed/dues to oil marketers, a serial number that distinguishes each SDN in a batch of subsidy claim.

He said: “It also has an issue date, the maturity date, signature of the Director General, and DG of the DMO.  When it is collected from the DMO, a photocopy of the ID card of the person who collected it is taken with a copy of the SDN.”

He also testified that he knew the company, Nasaman Oil Services Limited, as one the companies that he prepared SDN for in 2012.

“I got to know the company during the course of my duty at the DMO.

In total, according to the record available at the DMO, about five SDNs were prepared for Nasaman Oil Services Limited,” he said.

He, thereafter, identified in the open court two copies of the SDN, which were already before the court as Exhibit P13. “I can confirm that the two in contention were issued to Nasaman Oil Services Limited,” he said.

According to him, “Based on the exhibits before me, I can confirm that the person who collected the said SDN from the DMO is Christian Taylor, and he also acknowledged receipt.”

Identifying the two SDNs in contention, he said: “The amount involved for SDN with serial number FGN/2011/01/Y110586 is N749,991,273.36. “For the second SDN with serial number FGN/2012/01/B12B/0692, the amount is N1,480,074,125.61.”

The witness identified Christian H. Taylor in the dock, saying , “ He collected the two SDNs.”

The judge adjourned the matter till March 26, 2024.

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