More oil subsidy suspected thieves to be arraigned soon, says EFCC

Former EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is to arraign more suspects in the fuel subsidy fraud when courts resume from recess in September, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The commission denied it was suspending prosecution due to pressure from powerful interest seeking to bungle the trial.

The anti-graft body arraigned seven companies and 12 individuals in July. Some of the accused were sons of the chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur, and that of is predecessor, Ahmadu Ali.

Companies involved included Eterna Oil and Gas Limited, Ontario Oil and Gas Plc, Nadabo Energy Limited, Pacific Silver Line Limited and Axenergy Limited amongst others.

The commission however withdrew charges against two company directors claiming to have realized the accused were innocent.
With further charges withheld, the mix-ups fed speculation the commission was directed to suspend further action on the much-anticipated cases, while it deepens its investigations before filing new ones to avoid embarrassing turnaround.
But the commission said in a statement the suspension was in view of the current recess of the courts.

More batches of suspected offenders are to be brought before the courts by September, spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said.

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“The true position is that there is no untoward pressure on the EFCC to charge or suspend the charging of any suspect to court,” he said.

“Secondly, the fact that the Commission has not taken any accused person to court in the past few days is simply because the courts have all gone on break and EFCC can only take matters before open courts.

“After the first batch of suspects (20 in all) were arraigned, the courts went on recess.  When they resume, the Commission would certainly continue with the prosecution of the first batch and arraignment of the next set of oil subsidy scam suspects.”

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