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N3.1bn fraud: EFCC re-arraigns Arisekola’s son, Tukur, others

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Oluwatosin Omojuyigbe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday re-arraigned the son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Mahmud; and the son of the late Ibadan multibillionaire, Chief Alao Arisekola, Abdullahi, for conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and uttering.

Also arraigned on 38 counts before a Lagos State High Court on Tuesday were Ochonogor Alex and the companies of the defendants, Eterna Plc, Axenergy Limited and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants conspired among themselves and obtained the sum of N3,121,393,098 from the Federal Government under the guise that the money was for the importation of Premium Motor Spirit.

One of the charges read in part, “Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao-Arisekola, Eterna Plc, Axenergy, and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited on, or about April 28, 2011 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, by false pretence and with an intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N176,385,103.56 from the Federal Government of Nigeria which sum was in excess of the amount due to Eterna Plc as subsidy for the importation of 17,343,668 litres of Premium Motor Spirit by purporting to have imported the product through the mother vessel, MT. Emirates Star, with the bill of lading bearing  April 28, 2011, as against the actual mother vessel of Gunhild Kirk with the bill of lading date of April 3, 2011.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

The prosecutor, Mr. Tayo Olukotun, requested for a trial date in view of the plea of the defendants.

Counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), as well as counsel for the 3rd defendant, Mr. Aderemi Oguntoye, pleaded with the court to allow the defendants to maintain the bail terms granted earlier by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

The trial Judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, granted their request.

 “The 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants should continue to enjoy their bails granted on July 26, 2012,” Justice Oshodi said.

He adjourned till July 7, 2017 for trial.

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