The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, re-arraigned the trio of Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao and their companies over a N3.1 billion fuel subsidy scam.
The accused persons were charged alongside the companies — Eterna Plc, Axenergy, and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited — on 38-amended count charges bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and forgery.
The EFCC says the accused persons colluded among themselves and obtained N3.1 billion from the federal government under the guise that the money was for the importation of petrol.
Mr. Tukur is the son of a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The trio had earlier been charged in 2012 but the charges were amended by the EFCC.
One of the new charges reads: “You Mahmud Tukur, Ochonogor Alex, Abdullahi Alao, Eterna Plc, Axenergy, and Star Inspection Services Nigeria Limited between October and November, 2011 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit, obtaining the sum of N1,222,154,152 by false pretense from the Federal Government of
Nigeria purporting the said sum to be subsidy fund by falsely claiming to have imported 13, 701, 569 litres of premium Motor Spirit into Nigeria through the mother vessel MT Valle Di Castiglia and the Daughter vessel MT Deepwater and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related offences Act 2006.”
The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jabobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, requested a trial date in view of the plea of the accused persons.
But counsel to the accused persons requested the court to allow the accused persons maintain their bail terms and condition granted earlier by the same court.
The judge, Lateef-Lawal Akapo, allowed the accused persons to continue to enjoy the terms of bail earlier granted them by court and adjourned the matter to March 2, 3 and 4, 2015 for commencement of trial.