The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, arraigned a managing director of an oil and gas company, Iduh Haruna and his company, Harpat Oil & Gas Limited before Justice M.O Opara of the Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a 3-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheques and a loan scam in the sum of N8.1 million only
Troubles came for Haruna, on 20 October, 2010 when he allegedly obtained a loan of the said sum from Diamond Bank Plc, to finance the purchase of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also called Cooking Gas, but fraudulently diverted the same funds into construction of storage tanks for a new gas plant located in Lagos.
Besides, Haruna allegedly issued four United Bank for Africa( U.B.A) Cheques in the aggregate sum of N2, 223,712.06 at different dates in favour of Diamond Bank, but were returned un-paid.
Count One stated that: “You, Iduh Haruna and Harpatoil & Gas Limited on or about the 1st day of August, 2016 in Port Harcourt in the Judicial Division of the High Court of Rivers State did fraudulently issue a United Bank for Africa Plc Cheque No.59457058 dated 1st day of August, 2016 in the sum of N555,928.15 only in favour of Diamond Bank Plc which was to settle your financial obligation with the said bank in the sum of N8, 100,000.00 only and when the said Cheque was presented for payment, it was dishonored due to insufficient funds standing to your credit and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and (b) (i) & (ii) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offence) Act Cap D11 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation) 2007”.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
In view of the defendant’s plea, prosecution counsel, M.T Iko asked for a date for the commencement of trial and also prayed that the defendant be remanded in prison custody, but the defense counsel, N.A Ayewoh prayed that the court grant the defendant bail, arguing that his offences were bailable.
Justice M.O.Opara granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million and two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a civil servant of grade level 12 and above and the other surety should be an owner of a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter was adjourned to 14 February, 2018 for trial. The judge ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC’s custody pending the perfection of his bail.