A Lagos High Court in Igbosere hearing an oil subsidy fraud case against Abubakar Peters on Tuesday ordered his continued remand in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice C.A. Balogun ordered that Peters, the Managing Director, Nadabo Energy Ltd., be remanded in the commission’s custody till Dec. 18, when his bail application would be determined.
The EFCC had on Dec. 10 arraigned the defendant and his company on a two-count charge of fraudulently obtaining N1.5 billion from the Federal Government through the Petroleum Support Fund. In a bail application, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, counsel to the defendant, had urged the court to grant the defendant bail on self recognition, as his client’s father was a former Commissioner of Police.
Taiwo also disclosed that Peters was also suffering from an undisclosed ailment which required him to travel to the USA for treatment. He said that the defendant’s father was ready to stand as surety for him. “The defendant was not invited or arrested by the commission but he came to the court when he knew that there was a case instituted against him. The offence is a bailable one and I urge the court to admit my client to bail,’’ he added. However, Mr Ben Ubi, EFCC counsel, opposed the application, claiming that the defendant had earlier jumped bail when granted administrative bail by the EFFC.
Ubi said: “If the court admits the defendant to bail, he will jump bail just as he has done before. We urge the court to commence accelerated hearing as we are fully ready to commence the trial of the case.” Peters and his company, according to the charge, committed the offence between February and April 2012 by falsely claiming that the N1.5 billion represented subsidy accruing to it from the importation of premium motor spirit. The EFCC said that the offences committed were contrary to Sections 1 (2) and (3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. However, the accused pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge when it was read to him. Balogun then adjourned the substantive case to Jan. 16, 2013 for trial.