Fuel Subsidy: Court stops marketers’ move to quash charges

A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on Friday dismissed an application filed by two oil marketers, Mahmud Tukur and Alex Ochonogor, praying the court to discharge them from a case of oil subsidy fraud.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo dismissed the application for being premature.

The two oil marketers are being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for N1.8bn fuel subsidy fraud.

According to EFCC, the marketers, alongside their companies, allegedly obtained N1.8bn from the Federal Government under the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).

They had, however, filed an application seeking to quash the charge preferred against them.

Their lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), had argued that the proof of evidence did not support the offences levelled against his clients.

Oyetibo had described the criminal charge as an abuse of court processes and therefore prayed the court to dismiss the case.

He said that the charge arose from a joint venture agreement between Eterna Plc, Axenergy Limited, Sahara Energy Resources and Ontario Oil for the importation of fuel.

He had further argued that Section 10 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act did not empower the EFCC to charge the defendants to court for transactions carried out by Eterna Plc.

But Justice Lawal-Akapo dismissed the application for being premature.

The judge asked Oyetibo to wait till the prosecution closes its case before raising the issue of lack of sufficient evidence against the defendants.

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