EFCC Puts121 Suspects On Trial For Fuel Subsidy Scam, Oil Theft

EFCC-operatives-at-workThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said 121 suspects, including companies, are on trial for fuel subsidy scandal and oil theft in the Niger Delta.
It has also recovered about N6.53billion from evaders of customs duties in Lagos Ports.
The Head of Media and Publicity of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, gave the breakdown at a briefing in Abuja, on EFCC’s activities between March and June.
He also said some internet fraudsters had been arrested and prosecuted.
He said one Jesse Omokoh who allegedly obtained $90,000 from a 67-year old Australian, Jette Jacobs in a romance scam is presently on trial at an High Court in Ibadan.
But the biggest hauls of the agency were in the anti-graft war in the oil sector.
The highlights include 17 oil marketers; 23 oil marketing companies, and 81suspects on trial for oil theft.
The commission has also seized 11tanker vessels and 16 tanker trucks used for oil theft.
Uwujaren said: “Oil subsidy scam; as we speak, I think there are about 17 oil marketers that are being tried and I am talking of persons that are being tried in court over the subsidy scam.
“But if you add the individuals and their companies, we have over 40 cases undergoing trial for obtaining subsidy from the Federal Government without supplying products. And those cases are ongoing; they are progressing in court at different stages. Apart from the one that we have in court, there are also a number of investigations that are going on.
“Investigation of subsidy is not a straightforward thing; it is a very complicated procedure. It is not something that you can just conclude within a country, you have to deal with organizations with proper jurisdiction and these things take time.
“That is reason why some people think we don’t have enough people standing trial in court, it is a complicated procedure and that process is still on.
“In terms of whether we have recovered money from the subsidy thing, I say yes. I recall that about two months ago, the Executive Chairman of EFCC announced that the commission has recovered N4.3billion from the subsidy scam and that is very significant considering the complicated nature of those transactions. We are not relenting in our determination to get to the root of the matter.”
He also spoke on how the EFCC collaborated with other security agencies to fight oil thieves in the Niger Delta.
Uwujaren added: “Oil theft is a subject that is of concern to every Nigerian. “Of course, what we have done in this area could not have been possible without the assistance of sister law enforcement organizations, notably the Nigerian Navy and the Army.
“For some of you who want hard statistics on the record of the commission in fighting oil theft in the Niger Delta, it is my pleasure to report that the commission from January 2013 till date investigated 21 cases of crude oil theft.
“11tanker vessels and 16 tanker trucks were recovered, while 81 suspects have been charged to court.
“A few weeks ago, two Indians- Sailesh Kumar Singh and Chadrashekar Sharma- were jailed after successful prosecution by the commission for oil theft.
“The duo were among the 12 suspected oil thieves arrested in Brass, Bayelsa State in 2012 by the JTF with 157,882 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. They are to serve 15 years imprisonment. This should serve as deterrence for others still engaged in the nefarious trade.”
On evaders of import duties, Uwujaren said a large scale investigation of the scandal at the ports led to the recovery of N6.53billion unpaid customs importation duties in Lagos.
He said the battle has shifted to Onne port in Rivers State against duty evaders.
He said: “The desire to encourage local collaboration and erase unnecessary rivalries in law enforcement is the bedrock of our cooperation with the Nigerian Customs Service.
“Our joint recovery team in Lagos recovered the sum of N6.53billion evaded customs importation duties in Lagos between July 2012 and March 2014.
“Another joint recovery just commenced operations at Onne in Port Harcourt in April 2014 to recover customs revenue in the South-South zone of the country. We will be briefing you in the future on the outcome of thus exercise.”
On internet fraud, Uwujaren said the EFCC had been unrelenting to stamp out the crime.
He added: “Several cases were brought to trial in the last couple of weeks. First is the arraignment and conviction in Kano of one Daniel Okpara, who defrauded people through a Facebook account he opened in the name of the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
“Okpara lured his victims by promising them jobs with the commission. As we speak, he is in prison serving a three-year jail term.
“Early this month, the commission arraigned at an Ibadan High Court, a suspected internet fraud steer, one Jesse Omokoh who allegedly obtained $90,000 from a 67-year old Australian, Jette Jacobs in a romance scam.
“Omokoh, 28, allegedly met the lady in an online dating site and struck a relationship with a promise to marry the woman.
“The lady relocated from Australia to South Africa in November and the accused person left Nigeria to meet her in Johannesburg on February 4, 2013. Unfortunately, five days later she was found dead in her apartment.”
He said the accused person fled South Africa but was arrested by the EFCC because of the collaboration it has with the Australian police.