Sterling Bank Named In Fresh N1.3 Billion Fuel Subsidy Scam As Police Arrest 10

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Ten persons have been arrested by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of N1.3 billion in a fresh fuel subsidy scam.

A statement signed by ASP Oleka Felix for the unit’s Public Relations Officer, said the arrest was sequel to a petition filed by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments dated Oct. 31, 2012.

The statement said 36-year oil law graduate and Managing Director, Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd, Odjegba Onoriode, was arrested and had confessed to the crime.

“Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd. and Tubbs Marine Services fraudulently collected the subsidy claim via a joint account named Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd. in Sterling Bank Plc.,’’ it said.

The petition specifically requested for the unit’s assistance to investigate subsidy claims by Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd.

It stated that the request concerned six fuel import transactions allegedly executed between 2010 and 2011 by Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd.

It added that over N6 billion was allegedly received by Eurafric Oil and Coastal Services Ltd from the Federal Government as fuel subsidy payment.

It stated that he was granted permit to import PMS by the Federal Government of Nigeria between 2010 and 2011 under the subsidy scheme.

The statement said rather than execute the permits, he sold one of it to a company named ‘Tubbs Marine Services Ltd., at the cost of N65 million.’

The police statement read in part: “Tubbs Marine Services Ltd did not import any product based on the permit but fraudulently arranged forged documents of Cornerstone Insurance Plc.

“The suspect arranged with the insurer of the transaction, applied and received payment of N1.3 billion as subsidy claims.

The statement explained that the Sterling Bank, through its staff (names withheld), confirmed that they processed Form `M’ and other documents in respect of the transaction.

It added that the bank denied knowledge of how funds were sourced to finance the transaction or how the supposed supplier was paid for products allegedly supplied.

The statement said that the bank also confirmed that an inflow of sovereign debt note valued N1.3 billion was later made into the account of Eurafric Coastal Services Ltd.

The statement added: “The movement of money from the UK foreign account to an account in Nigeria’s Unity Bank Plc., led to the discovery that Fago Petroleum Ltd. is owned by Seun Ogunbambo, Managing Director of Tubbs Marine Services Ltd.

“It showed that the oil marketer and supplier are only but one person and there was no product supplied but funds were merely moved out of Nigeria and returned back to Nigeria by the same clique of fraudsters.

“This is to create the impression that a genuine import of PMS is taking place,” said the statement.