Alleged N115m fraud: Oil merchants lose no-case-submission, ordered to open defence

Posted by Edith Nwapi | 27 April 2018 | 1,857 times

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•Lady Justice


An FCT High Court sitting in Maitama on Thursday dismissed the no-case submission filed by oil merchant, Emmanuel Owoicho, and other defendants accused of N115million oil fraud.

Justice Peter Affen ordered him to enter his defence against the allegation against him and five other oil merchants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The judge gave the order while ruling on a no-case submission by Mr Francis Onoja,  Owoicho’s counsel.

Justice Affen held that a prima-facie case warranting an explanation from the defendants had been established.

“I have carefully considered the no-case submission made on behalf of the first, second, third and fourth defendants vis-à-vis the evidence made in this proceeding, and I take the considered view that prima-facie case warranting explanation from the defendants has been made out.

“I accordingly record an order dismissing a no-case submission on behalf of the defendants,” the judge ruled.

He adjourned the case until June 28, for the defendants to open their defence.

Onoja had asked the court to strike out the case against his client for ‘failure of the prosecution to establish the essential ingredients of the alleged offence’.

Owoicho is facing a 12-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence, alongside managing directors of Standard Allied Universal Concept Limited, Ann Petroleum Investment Company and Alien Logic Ways Unique Services.

Other defendants are: Unique Energy Systems Limited, Calibrate Inspection Services Limited, Standard Allied Universal Concept Limited and Unique Energy Distribution Systems.

EFCC alleged that they conspired to sell a consignment of Bonny Light crude oil purportedly from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to Bascom Energy Limited to the tune of N115 million.

They also alleged that the defendants collected money to the tune of N115million at various times, for the crude oil which was never supplied.

The prosecution called 16 witnesses since the matter started on Feb. 15, 2015, and closed its case on Feb.1, 2018.

Onoja, counsel representing the first and second defendants informed the court that they are making a no-case submission

He urged the court to strike out the case in its entirety on the grounds that ‘there was no nexus between the defendants and the alleged offence’.

Responding, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that the prosecution had established a prima facie case to warrant explanations by the defendants.

He urged the court to order the defendants to enter their defence.

“The prosecution filed a composite written address dated April 24, 2018. Our argument is contained in the 27 page written address, which we wish to adopt as our argument.

“We pray the court to order the defendants to enter their defence. It is our submission that the prosecution has made a prima-facie case against the defendants,” Tahir submitted. (NAN)



Source: News Express

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