The suspects are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for failing to import about 10,000 metric tons (13 million litres) of petrol in 2011; for which they allegedly received N976 million as subsidy payment.
Though out on bail, Mr. Ogunbambo is being remanded in Ikoyi prisons for a bank fraud case, a matter for which he is appearing before another judge.
Francis Usani, counsel to the EFCC, said that he was “relatively surprised” that the suspect was not in court.
“Looking at the dock, the first defendant is not in court. I was with him yesterday at another court and there was nothing to show that he would not be in court today,” said Mr. Usani. “I wouldn’t know the circumstances why he had abandoned court today. I know he is in custody.”
While Mr. Ogunbambo was absent, his co-defendant, Mr. Theck, a deputy managing director in the company, attended the proceeding.
Gboyega Oyewole, the defendants’ counsel, told the judge that he was equally surprised at his client’s absence.
Mr. Oyewole, however, asked the court to issue a warrant to ensure that Mr. Ogunbambo attends on the next adjourned date.
“I interacted with the prison warders and they said that they were not aware he was supposed to be here today,” said Mr. Oyewole.
“He is on bail in relation to this matter,” he added.
Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the judge, adjourned till February 11 and 12 and ordered that a production warrant be served on the management of Ikoyi prisons.
“There is a mix-up about the defendant’s production in court. We’ll adjourn to those days and a production warrant served to make him appear in court,” said Mr. Onigbanjo.
At the last sitting, Abdulrasheed Bawa, an EFCC witness had detailed how the defendants had “forged” documents alleging that a bureau de change, Capital Fields Investment Limited, purchased nine million litres of fuel from their supply.
The bureau de change denied the claim, stating that they “never bought a single litre of petroleum product” from the defendants, according to Mr. Bawa.
Mr. Ogunbambo is also facing a N4.46 billion subsidy fraud alongside Mamman Ali, son of former Peoples’ Democratic Party Chairman, Ahmadu Ali; and Christian Taylor.
He is also standing trial in a N430 million Stanbic IBTC bank fraud in which the judge, Olabisi Akinlade, refused to grant him bail.
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