Court jails two oil marketers 8 years for N789.6m oil fraud

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Justice Latifat Okunnu of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has convicted and sentenced two oil marketers – George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, owners of Rocky Energy Limited to eight years imprisonment on a 26-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence and forgery to the tune of N789.6million.

The convicts were prosecuted alongside one Adamu Maula, owner of Downstream Energy Sources Limited, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

They were said to have imported 10, 862 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, for which they were paid the sum of money by the Petroleum Support Fund, PSF. However, investigation revealed that the documents used by the defendants were forged

Counsels to the defendants, in separate no-case submissions, had urged the court to dismiss the charge against their clients for lack of merit.

However, in the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, presented 11 witnesses, including Abdulrasheed Bawa, an investigator with the EFCC, and tendered documents in evidence. In his judgment on January 26, Justice Okunnu found Ogbonna and Morah guilty and sentenced them to eight years imprisonment each.

The judge ordered the convicts to return the money they fraudulently collected to the Federal Government. Maula and his company, Downstream Energy Sources Limited, were, however, discharged and acquitted by the court.

In his reaction to the judgment, Jacobs thanked the court for allowing justice to prevail during course of the trial.

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