1 An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday reserved judgment in the case involving two men: Ogbor Eliot, and Kelvin Chris, charged with attempted N1.8bn oil fraud for Sept.13.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case following the adoption of the final written address of the counsel.
2 The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the defendants are standing trial, alongside a company, Danium Energy Services Ltd., on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence.
3 The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
4 At Friday’s proceedings, in adopting the final written addresses, counsel to the defendants, unanimously prayed the court to discharge and acquit their respective clients.
5 They urged the court to hold that the prosecution had not proven the case against their clients beyond any reasonable doubt.
6 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, in adopting his final written address, urged the court to dismiss the arguments of the defence counsel, arguing that they lacked merits and prayed the court to convict the defendants as charged.
7 “The case against the defendants before your lordship is such that it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.
8 “I urge the court to take into cognisance, the fact that the defendants created an impression that Total Nigeria Plc, issued to the defendants local purchase order, Ref. Nos 330 and 33, for the supply of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
10 “And so, the third defendant, armed with these LPOs, contracted Sterling Bank Plc to finance the purported documents emanating from Total Nigeria Pl
“The prosecution has shown to my lord, that the LPOs were forged, and the original of the documents which Total said that the referenced documents in contention, were not issued to the third defendant, ” he said.
11 EFCC had alleged that the defendants and the company had attempted to fraudulently deceive Sterling Bank Plc into lending them money through a fraudulent scheme.
12 This was on the pretext to finance Local Purchase Orders (LPO) for 20,000 metric tonnes of AGO, to be supplied to Total Nigeria Plc.
The prosecution submitted that the defendants and the company had sometime in February 2016 in Lagos, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst themselves to obtain the sum of N1.8 billion by false pretence from Sterling Bank Plc.
EFCC also alleged that the defendants, with intent to defraud, induced Sterling Bank Plc to deliver to Danium Energy Services Ltd., the total sum of N1.8 billion.
13 It added that it was under the false pretence that Total Nigeria Plc vide Purchase Orders (PO), with Ref. No. 0216330 and 02331 dated Feb.3 2016, contracted Danium Energy Services Ltd to supply 20,000 metric tonnes of AGO in two tranches of 10,000 metric tonnes, each valued at the aggregate sum of N2.3 billion.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution said that the alleged offences contravened Section 1(1) (a) (b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.