$1.6bn crude oil fraud: Bank freezes Omokore’s companies’ accounts

An official of Stanbic IBTC Plc, Mr. Adedayo Adesanmi, told the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday that the accounts of a businessman, Jide Omokore, kept with the bank and into which $1.6bn proceeds of sales of Federal Government’s crude oil were allegedly diverted, had been closed down as a result of  “a worldwide freezing order”.

Adesanmi, who is a Senior Manager with the bank and the Relationship Manager for the two companies’ accounts, disclosed this while testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Omokore and others before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Omokore, his two companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited, and others on nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

The other defendants are a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Victor Briggs; a former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the NNPC, Abiye Membere; and a former Manager, Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo.

Late last year, one of the counts in which the name of the immediate-past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was said to be Omokore’s ally, was struck out by the court following an application by the former minister’s lawyers.

Fielding questions from the lead the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), on Wednesday, Adesanmi had said each of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited, had a naira and dollar accounts with Stanbic IBTC.

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