Alleged N735m subsidy scam: Absence of defence counsel stalls hearing

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The absence of a defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, in an FCT High Court, on Tuesday, stalled hearing in the subsidy fraud suit filed against Adegibite Adetoye and Ponnle Abiodun, two directors of Origin Oil and Gas Limited.

The EFCC charged Messrs Adetoye, Abiodun and Origin Oil and Gas Limited with obtaining N735 million from the federal government as payment for the importation of 15,000mt of premium motor spirit (PMS) which they claim to have purchased from Vitol SA and imported into Nigeria through MT Silverie.

At the resumed sitting, the EFCC counsel, Steve Odiasa, informed the court that counsel to Origin Oil and Gas Limited, S. I Ameh, SAN, had called to inform him of his unavoidable absence in court.

The judge, Silvanus Oriji, then adjourned the case to July 3, since none of the counsels involved objected to the application for an adjournment by the senior advocate.

The EFCC prosecution counsel has so far called four witness to prove their case before the court.

The fourth prosecution witness, an operative of the EFCC, Chidi Nweke, told the court that the fourth quarter allocation in 2010 was given to the three defendants by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for the importation of PMS.

He alleged that the importation was carried out by the defendants using the M.T. Silverie, which was purportedly loaded offshore through Cotonou in January, 2011 and discharged its entire cargo with the quantity of 19,179,999 litres of PMS at Lister depot Apapa Lagos operated by ‘O and O’ PLC.

(NAN)

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