The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, Wednesday narrated how the petitions made by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and Falana & Falana Chambers led to the investigation of a N765.6 million subsidy fraud against the Federal Government by an oil marketer, Abubakar Ali Peters.
The EFCC had charged Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited on a 21-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants obtained said sum from the Federal Government as oil subsidy using forged documents on September 26, 2011.
The EFCC alleged that the defendants obtained N761,628,993.84 from the FG under the Petroleum Support Fund for the purpose of importing 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) but fraudulently imported only 7, 953,962 litres and diverted the rest of the product and its proceeds for personal use.
However, during his further examination-in-chief as PW2 (second prosecution witness), Bawa said that Commission received a complaint from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in 2015 alleging fraud in the importation of PMS by Nadabo and another petition from Falana & Falana Chambers dated January 17, 2012.
Bawa, while led in evidence by the prosecutor, S.K. Atteh said that the petitions, which also included a complaint from a civil society group, formed the bedrock of the investigation into Nadabo Energy Limited.
According to Bawa, who investigated the case as a then operative of the EFCC, told the court that a Special Team was constituted by the EFCC to probe the subsidy regime.
He said: “The first port of call was the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
“After meeting with PPPRA, the defendant was among many involved in importing petroleum.
“Based on intelligence from PPPRA, we set out to get more intelligence. However, all the banks involved were written to, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigerian Ports’ Authority (NPA), NIMASA, the Nigerian Navy and many other companies involved in dealing with Nadabo Energy Limited.
“We invited all marketers to come forward with the documents they submitted to PPPRA.
“In this particular case, we wrote to him and his company inviting them to bring forward all documents submitted.
“On 28th January 2012, he came to our office and I personally interviewed him.
“The PPPRA was thereafter contacted to furnish the EFCC with the certified true copies of all documents submitted to it by the defendant.
“They responded in writing, attaching the documents submitted by the defendant. When we received it, we compared it with the ones he submitted to us and found out that he claimed that he imported 6,000 MT each with two Letters of Credit financed by then Spring Bank Plc which was not the case.”
However, the prosecution, through the witness, tendered in evidence several documents as he further testified to the findings of the investigation he led into the alleged fraud.
But the defence counsel, E.O. Isiramen raised objections to their admissibility.