EFCC says suspect in fuel subsidy fraud is "not stable"

EFCC_operatives

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday said that one of the suspects in the on-going suit against oil marketers involved in the monumental subsidy fraud is “not stable”.

Christian Taylor, who alongside Mamman Ali, pleaded not guilty to a three count charge of obtaining N4.4billion from the federal government under false pretence, last Thursday, told the judge that he is a Sierra Leonean citizen.

Adeniyi Onigbanjo, the presiding judge, had among other bail conditions stipulated that one of their two sureties must be a blood relative of the applicant with landed property within Lagos State valued at N100million.

Mr. Taylor’s counsel pleaded with the judge that his client, being a foreigner, would have difficulties meeting the condition; the judge responded that he file a formal application to that effect.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, Toyin Pinheiro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and one of the counsels to Mr. Taylor filed an application to the verification of his bail conditions.

However, Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, said that Mr. Taylor’s assertion that he is a foreigner is worrisome.

“The defendant in his sworn deposition said that he is from Edo State. For him to now turn back and say he is Sierra Leonean,” said Mr. Jacobs.

“The important thing is for him to attend the trial and if he is not stable at this level, I wonder if he will be stable when released totally,” he added.

Mr. Onigbanjo adjourned till Wednesday for hearing of the defendant’s application for verification of bail conditions.

More suspects arraigned

Two other suspects, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and Habila Theck, and one organisation, Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited, were arraigned on a six count charge of fraudulently obtaining N970million from the Petroleum Support Fund for an alleged importation of 13million litres of fuel.

Both suspects pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mr. Onigbanjo said that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody until August 1 when the defendants’ bail application would be heard.

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