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Home » £2.6bn Fraud: FG seeks dismissal of Petrounion Directors no case motion

£2.6bn Fraud: FG seeks dismissal of Petrounion Directors no case motion

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£2.6bn Fraud: FG seeks dismissal of Petrounion Directors no case motion



























Posted By Town Crier News Nigeria




















Published By Fitness Network Communications















The Federal Government on Monday urged Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss the No-Case-Submission application filed by the four Directors of an oil firm, Petro Union Oil and Gas Limited, currently standing trial for alleged £2.6bn fraud.

FG’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), pleaded while arguing his written address in opposition to the Petrounion Directors’ motion.

All the defendants in the case are contending through their lawyers that none of the thirteen witnesses called by the prosecution established any case of fraud against them.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Petro Union Oil and Gas Limited, a consultant to the company and three of its directors before the court on a 13-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, attempt to steal and forgery.

The Consultant is Abayomi Kukoyi (Trading under the name and style of Gladstone Kukoyi & Associates), while the company’s directors on trial are Prince Kingsley Okpala, Prince Chidi Okpalaeze and Prince Emmanuel Okpalaeze.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In his opposition to the application, Jacobs maintained that the prosecution had, through its witnesses, established the case of fraud against the defendants.

He argued that all investigations by Union Bank, Central Bank, Bankers’ Committee and the EFCC confirmed that the defendants were engaged in a clear fraud case.

The lawyers stated, “We have proved the ingredients of those offences beyond any shadow of a doubt.

“The defendants knew the truth but are insisting that the Federal Government should pay them £2.1 billion. It is our common inheritance that they want to take away. This is a clear case of fraud, and no person with heaven in mind should pursue this case.

“The judgement against the Federal Government is now up to £30 billion with interest from 1994. We investigated the issuance of this cheque with our overseas partners, and it was revealed that the late Chief Okpala wrote the document. He was the one who gave the various payment instructions to the third party and not any foreign investor.

“The account upon which the cheque was drawn has been closed since 1989, whereas the cheque was issued in 1994”, Jacobs said.

In conclusion, he maintained that a prima-face case had been established against the defendants and, as such, the court should dismiss their no-case motion and order them to open their defence.

While moving the No-Case-Submission application on behalf of his clients, Chief JK Gazama (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the charge because the prosecution has failed to establish a prima-face case against them.

Gazama stated that the 13 witnesses produced by the EFCC were discredited under cross-examination and that they could not present any evidence or link the defendant to the offences.

He further argued that the third to fifth defendants were minors when the purported offences were allegedly committed and that they were not company directors.

He maintained that they could not, therefore, be held liable for the alleged offences because the prosecution failed to demonstrate to the court the role they played in committing the crimes.

The senior lawyer also told the court that the failure of the prosecution to call officials of Barclays Bank is fatal to their case because they are the complainants in the matter.

Gazama insisted that a criminal case must be proven beyond reasonable doubt and that it would amount to a miscarriage of justice if the court ordered the defendants to open their case.

The counsel to the second defendant, Bashir Ramoni, also argued that the anti-graft agency failed to discharge its duty of proving its case against his client.

He contended that the second defendant was a Chartered Accountant who only rendered his professional services to the first defendant (Petro Union), and his actions can not be criminalised.

Ramoni also stated that since the court cannot criminalise his professional services, it must hold that the second defendant has no case to answer, and he should be discharged and acquitted.

Justice Liman has fixed January 30, 2024 to deliver his ruling on the application.

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