The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has recovered some funds from Abubakar Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, who are facing N1.4 billion fuel subsidy fraud charges.
EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said this on Monday in his testimony as a prosecution witness at the ongoing trial of Mr Peters and his firm at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.
Testifying as the second prosecution witness, Mr Bawa said EFCC started recovering funds from the defendants following Mr Peter’s admission in a written statement that “he is willing to pay back the excess money he obtained from the government”.
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, gave the account of the proceedings in a statement on Monday.
Under cross-examination by the defence lawyer, E.O Isiramen, Mr Bawa further stressed, “Our findings and evidence are still that you cannot discharge what you didn’t import.
“And our investigation, including documents from the banks, Staco Insurance Plc, PPPRA and others, indicated that the defendant supplied about 6,000 MT of PMS and not 12,000 MT as claimed by the defendant.”
The EFCC boss also said an investigation by the commission revealed that those who signed the respective documents resulting in the eventual payment to the defendants “did not do the right thing from our findings.”
“However, we were looking at the bigger picture in the interest of justice and concluded that the defendant was the beneficiary of the alleged compromise,” he added.
He further told the court that “We have started making recoveries from the defendant and we have a statement in which he put in writing that he is willing to pay back the excess money he received from the government.”
Mr Bawa also restated that other directors of the company told the EFCC, during investigations, that they didn’t know anything about the transaction.
He said: “He never denied that he was in charge of everything that has to do with the transaction.
“We were only doing our job and we found out that the entire fund was utilised by him.”
Mr Abubakar and his company are being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 27-count charge of using forged documents to defraud the federal government under the fuel subsidy scheme in 2012.
EFCC alleged that Mr Peters and his firm inflated the volume of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) they had imported to fraudulently claim about N1.4billion from the government under the Petroleum Support Fund.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was arraigned on October 7, 2015, thereby prompting the commencement of his trial.
Mr Bawa had in his evidence-in-chief, on September 22, 2021, told the ourt that EFCC investigations into petitions received from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and some concerned Nigerians in 2015 alleging subsidy fraud revealed how the defendants allegedly used forged documents to claim subsidy funds for 12,000MT of petrol. He said the defendants actually imported only 6,000MT of the product.
The defence lawyer, Mr Isiramen, began the cross-examination of the witness on December 16, 2021.
The cross-examination ended on Monday bringing Mr Bawa’s testimony to a close.
The trial judge, C.A. Balogun, adjourned the case until May 10.
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