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Court reserves judgment in case of alleged N1.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud

By News Express on 26/11/2015

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The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has reserved judgment in the case involving Yanaty Petrochemical Limited, an oil marketing company, over an alleged N1,840,768,720  fuel subsidy fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is asking the appellate court to set aside the judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that all investigations into the alleged petroleum subsidy fraud against the defendant had been concluded.

Yanaty’s Managing Director, Elias Adeojo, was given approval by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA) to import 30,000 tons of premium motor spirit (PMS) under the Petroleum Support Scheme in the first quarter of 2011.

The defendant claimed he imported 31,256,992 metric tons equivalent to 42,171,630 million litres in March, 2011 via MT Beaver.

Yanaty purportedly discharged the product at Lister Oil Jetty, Lagos, which is managed by Oando Marketing Plc.

As a result, Yanaty allegedly received the sum of N2,731,942,103.73 as subsidy for purportedly discharging 42,773,279 million litres of PMS.

However, during investigation, Oando, operator of Lister oil jetty, disclosed the MT Beaver discharged only 10,187.353 metric tons, which is equivalent to 13,952.926 million litres of PMS for Yanaty, as opposed to 31,256,992 it claimed to have discharged.

Yanaty, therefore, allegedly received the sum of N1,840,768,720 as unearned  subsidy from the Federal Government.

Counsel to the defendant, Michael Anache, had filed a case against the PPRA and its Executive Secretary before Justice A. R. Muhammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking a declaration that all investigations against them by law enforcement agencies had been concluded.

Though the EFCC was not joined in the suit before Justice Muhammed, judgment was given in favour of Yanaty.

Also, in an effort to prevent further investigation into its activities, Yanaty, thereafter, filed another case against the EFCC before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an interpretation of the judgment delivered by Justice Muhammed.

The defendant also urged Justice Ademola to rely on the earlier judgment delivered by Justice Muhammed declaring that all investigations against it( Yanaty) had been concluded.

However, while moving his plea at Tuesday’s sitting, counsel to EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that EFCC was not joined in the first suit before Justice Muhammed.

In his response, counsel to defendant, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, told the court that Anache, who represented the defendant in the suit before Justice Muhammed, had written to EFCC to stop further investigation because the matter was before another court.

However, appellant’s counsel, Tahir, told the court: “At the time they (Yanaty) filed the first suit, they were aware that there was an ongoing investigation. We started our investigation in February, 2012, but they filed their case sometime in June, 2012 and did not join us in the suit.’’

According to him, ‘‘As far as we are concerned, we have not concluded any investigation.  They have not furnished any court with any evidence to show that any investigation had been concluded.”

Tahir, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the judgment earlier delivered by Justice Ademola, saying: “The PPRA and its Executive Secretary, who are the defendants in the first suit, have appealed, but we are not even concerned about that. We are at the Appeal court over the case they brought before Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja. No law enforcement agency has concluded any investigation. It is either the EFCC or Special Fraud Unit that is assigned with responsibility of investigating petroleum subsidy fraud.”

After listening to both counsel, Justice Tinuola Akomolafe Akomolafe-Wilson, reserved judgment in the case.

Source News Express

Posted 26/11/2015 11:50:03 AM


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