N789.6m subsidy fraud: PPPRA didn’t investigate documents – Witness
LAGOS – A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of some oil marketers, Mr Victor Chidok, on Monday stated that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) did not investigate some documents submitted by three oil marketers for processing of their fuel subsidy payment.
Chidok, the Head of Lagos Zonal Office of the PPPRA, made the statement in his testimony at the trial of three oil marketers, Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna, and Emmanuel Morah, before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.
The trio, alongside their firms, Downstream Energy Sources Limited and Rocky Energy Limited, are standing trial for an alleged N789.6 million fuel subsidy fraud.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, Chidok, who was led in evidence by the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Jacobs, testified that Downstream Energy was given permission to import 10,862 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) into Nigeria.
According to him, based on the mandate, the defendants submitted some documents relating to a ship-to-ship transfer between MT La Katrina (mother vessel) and MT D. Roseline (daughter vessel), offshore in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
He added that the documents, which included the Cargo Manifest, Haulage Report and Certificate of Cargo Transfer of the vessels showed that the transaction took place between January 2 and 3, 2011.
Further in his testimony, Chidok said the documents that are claimed, emanated from Inspectorate Marine Services Limited which had witnessed the transaction.
“We did not investigate the documents submitted by the marketers. We don’t have representatives off-shore and we treated those documents on face value.
“We only checked the documents to confirm if they tallied with our check-list,” he said.
The witness under cross-examination by the defence counsel led by Professor Alfred Kasamu (SAN), admitted that the PPPRA witnessed the discharge of the products at the Apapa jetty in Lagos.
“The products were discharged according to the volume allocated to downstream for importation.
“The PPPRA only verified when the daughter vessel (MT D.Roseline) came into Nigeria before discharge,” he said.
Earlier, a banker with FirstBank, Mr Nwoji Obioha, had testified that Rocky Energy Limited introduced Dowmstream Energy to his bank for the purpose of account opening for a project it was to undertake.
The matter was adjourned till tomorrow, July 31, 2013 for continuation of trial.
– THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE