The accused persons are accused of duping Nigeria using falsified documents.
Twenty eight documents allegedly forged by Mamman Ali and his co-accused to receive N4.5 billion from the Nigerian government’s fuel subsidy scheme were, Thursday, admitted as exhibits at the Ikeja High court, Lagos.
Mr. Ali, son of former chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmadu Ali; alongside Christian Taylor, Seun Ogunbambo, and Nasaman Oil Services is facing is facing a 13-count charge of fuel subsidy fraud.
At the last adjourned date, Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the trial judge, ordered the freezing of the bank account of Nasaman Oil Services, the company where the trio are directors.
Thursday’s trial witnessed the Inspectorate Marine Services, IMS, denying that it issued the documents which the accused submitted as proof of importation of petroleum products.
Private and government agencies engage the services of IMS to ascertain the quality and quantity of petroleum products transferred from one ship to another or from a ship to a terminal tank.
The Managing Director of IMT, Lagos, Chidi Onyidiwe, while testifying, stated that his organization never issued the documents to Nasaman Oil Services.
Some of the documents include the Certificate of Cargo Transfer (from mother to daughter vessel); Haulage Report (before discharge); Haulage Report (after discharge); Certificate of Quantity; Certificate of Quality (that the imported product meets all the country’s requirements); Ullages Report, Bonker’s Survey Report, and the Cargo Manifest.
Mr. Onyidiwe, the prosecution’s second witness in the trial, said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, contacted them last year to verify the authenticity of the documents.
“Sometimes in November 2012, we (IMS) received a letter from EFCC at our Lagos office addressed to the Managing Director of IMS. The letter, with 28 documents attached to it, was signed by Mr. Adeola, Head of Operations of EFCC,” Mr. Onyidikwe said while being led in evidence by Francis Usani, the EFCC counsel.
“The letter asked us to reply if the documents were authentic or not.
“On receiving the letter, we checked our operational records, our laboratory records and accounts records, we then replied the EFCC that those documents did not emanate from the Inspectorate,” the witness said.
Mr. Onyidikwe said that their reply was sent to the commission in December 2012.
“I have looked at the logo, stamp and signatures on the documents they did not emanate from our office,” Mr. Onyidikwe added.
In explaining the importance of the documents in the fuel subsidy scheme, the IMS director stated that while the Haulage Report (before transfer) would show the quantity of the product before transfer into the daughter vessel; the Haulage Report (after transfer) would show the quantity discharged and the quantity left behind in the mother vessel.
“The documents are part of the documents we did not issue,” he said.
Despite the objections of the defence counsels, Kolade Obafemi and Gbenga Oyewole, the judge admitted the documents as exhibits.
He also admitted as exhibits the letters written by the anti graft agency to IMS requesting for the verification of the authenticity of the documents and the reply of IMS.
The trial was adjourned till March 28 for cross-examination of the witness.