EFCC not ready for trial of fuel subsidy suspects

The EFCC needs more time to prepare for the trial of the fuel subsidy suspects.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday said it is not yet ready for the commencement of the trial of one of the early batches of the suspected fuel subsidy thieves.

The duo of Mamman Ali and Christian Taylor, are being tried for using their company, Nasam Oil Services, to obtain N4.4billion from the federal government under false pretence.

The anti graft agency told Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the presiding judge, that “some very serious issues have come up” during investigations.

“We want the matter adjourned for commencement of trial, we cannot proceed today,” said Francis Usani, counsel to the EFCC.

“Between their time of arraignment and now some very serious issues have come up. We intend to assist the judge…”

Mr. Usani explained the ‘serious issue’ to be their intention to join Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, another suspect in the fuel subsidy fraud, as a co-defendant in the matter.

The EFCC said that they discovered that the name of Mr. Ogunbambo, earlier denied bail by the court due to “a lengthy criminal past which transcends the shores of Nigeria,” continually appeared during investigations for the matter before the court.

When the Messrs Ali and Taylor were arraigned last July, Mr. Onigbanjo fixed October 30 and November 12 for trial to begin.

Mr. Usani said that they would be ready by the latter date.

“As at the time we filed the charge, this information was not available to us,” he added.

Toyin Pinheiro, counsel to the defendants, raised no objection, merely noting that the delay was a testament that his clients were innocent of the charges against them.

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