Court strikes out N2.8bn fuel subsidy fraud charges against GTBank, others

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A Federal High Court, Lagos, has struck out the N2.8 billion fuel subsidy scam charge against Guaranty Trust Bank, four oil companies and seven others for lack of diligent prosecution.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, neither the prosecutor nor the accused persons were present in court, a development that made the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris to strike out the charge.

However, the prosecutor who later arrived in court after the proceedings has vowed to refile the criminal charge against the accused persons.

Joined along with Guaranty Trust Bank are Ryden Oil limited, Petrogap Limited, Kunle Akeju, Ezemo Victor Imokhuede, Adebayo Owonobi Oluwaseun, Fatgbems Petroleum company, Ibitogbe Benjamin, Fatai Ganiu Olanrewaju, Olayinka Idris, Energy Factory Marine and Oil Services Limited, Riwane Olawale Jubril.

In the three count charge filed before the court by Effiong Asuquo, a Suprintendent of Police from Special Fraud Unit, SFU, it was alleged that between June and November, 2011, the accused persons collected the sum of N2, 745, 848, 184. 86, as fuel subsidy under the false pretence that they had imported 25 metric tons of premium motor spirit into the country.

The SFU in the charge also alleged that GTB and Fatgbems Petroleum company and other persons now at large, at the same period with intent to defraud, aided Ryden Oil limited, Petrogap Limited, Kunle Akeju, Ezemo Victor Imokhuede, Adebayo Owonobi Oluwaseun, who are directors of Petrogap limited, to obtain the said amount as fuel subsidy from the federal government.

The offences according to the SFU are punishable under sections 8(a), 1(1)(a), (3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Cap. A6, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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