Nadabo Energy Limited, Abubakar obtain N1.4bn oil subsidy fraudulently, Bawa tells Court

The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa on Tuesday insisted that Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited used  forged documents to obtain  N1,464,961,978.24 fraudulently from the Federal Government as oil subsidy .

Bawa disclosed this as the fifth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited before Justice C.A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

Testifying further, Bawa told the Court that the correspondences between EFCC ,  Petrocam and the CAC as well as the responses from the two agencies which are in evidence against the defendants were thoroughly studied in the course of investigation.

He also told the court that the correspondences further unearthed several activities carried out in  defrauding the Federal Government in fuel subsidy funds.

“We studied the responses from Petrocam and found out that, contrary to the claim of the defendant that Ashland Energy SA was the supplier, it was Petrocam Trading PYT Limited that supplied about 4,500MT equivalent to about 6.5million litres of PMS as against the claim of about 14,000MT of PMS equivalent to about 19.8million litres purportedly supplied by the defendant.

“The response also confirmed to us that the Letter of Credit  (LC) No. SPG/DLC/11/0013 is actually in favour of Petrocam and not Ashland Energy as claimed by the defendant’s purported documents. 

“We also found out that the daughter vessel, MT St Vanessa, received the product  on 2nd December 2011 from a mother vessel, MT Eviridiki, which was contrary to the claim by the defendant that, on the 2nd of December 201, MT Vanessa received the products from MT American Express.”

“The correspondence with the CAC”, he said, “confirmed that Abubakar was among the shareholders and directors of the company, and that indeed the company was duly registered.”

In furtherance of the investigation, and a fallout of the correspondence with Petrocam, Bawa said letters of investigation activities were sent to Enterprise Bank Limited, requesting to be furnished with the copies of instruments used for the utilisation of certain funds in the account of the first defendant. 

He further said: “The bank received our original letter, acknowledged the copy and accordingly responded to our letter in writing, attaching copies of the requested documents. 

“We equally wrote another investigation letter to Skye Bank Plc for copies of the account opening documents and the statement of account of the first defendant.

“The bank duly acknowledged receipt and also responded in writing, attaching all the requested documents as well as Certificate of Identification. 

“We studied the statement of account and found out that the said account is the account that received the subsidy payment of more than N1.4billion on 4th April 2012 in favour of the transaction in the matter before this honourable court.”

According to him, further analysis indicated that “the entire subsidy payment received was utilised by the defendant, including a huge transfer of N850million to Enterprise Bank, which we found out to be for the liquidation of the LC raised in favour of Petrocam for the actual transaction that took place.”

He further testified that “then Spring Bank was approached by the defendant to finance the said importation. 

“The bank agreed and raised the Letter of Credit valued at $4.8million In favour of Petrocam.”

According to him, investigation showed that the defendant reached out to one Mr. Jide Offor Akpan of International Maritime and Shipping Ltd, who helped to charter MT St Vanessa, adding that “It was the same vessel that received 6.5million litres on 2nd December 2011 from Petrocam based on the LC that was raised. 

“We found out that Q & Q Control Services Limited was engaged by the defendant to witness the ship-to-ship transfer of 6.5million litres or about 4,500MT of PMS from MT Eviridiki into MT St Vanessa. 

“We also found out that St Vanessa only picked products from MT Eviridiki on 2nd December 2011 of 6.5million litres and discharged the same on behalf of the defendant at Masters Energy depot in Port Harcourt.”

According to him, the findings were contrary to the claims in the documents submitted by the defendant to the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

Thereafter, the prosecution counsel, S.K. Atteh  sought to tender the correspondences between the EFCC and Enterprise Bank as well as Skye Bank.

The defence team, led by E.O. Isiramen, did not object to the admissibility of the EFCC letters, he however objected to the admissibility of the responses from the two banks.

Following the arguments by the defence and prosecution, citing several authorities, Justice Balogun adjourned till December 7, 2021 for “ruling and continuation of trial”. 

In his earlier ruling on Tuesday  Justice Balogun had admitted the correspondence between  EFCC and Petrocam in evidence as he  declared that the  documents  were already in existence before this case was filed.

“Petrocam only gave documents of what already took place to the EFCC; and so, there is no surprise for the defence.” the judge  ruled.