The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned two oil marketers, Mahmud Tukur and Abdullahi Alao, over an alleged N1.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud.
The defendants are sons of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and prominent Ibadan-based businessman, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao, respectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the oil marketers were re-arraigned before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court.
They were charged alongside Alex Ochonogor and Eterna Oil and Gas Plc.
Their re-arraignment followed transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.
NAN reports that the accused were arraigned before Onigbanjo on July 26, 2012, on a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of false documents.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were each granted a N20 million bail.
During Monday’s proceedings, EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court of the commission’s plan to re-arraign the accused.
Jacobs prayed the court to take their pleas again.
The court acceded to Jacob’s request, and the accused pleaded not guilty.
The judge permitted them to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Onigbanjo.
He adjourned the matter till Feb. 24, 2014 for hearing of applications to quash the charges.
The applications were filed by Tukur and Ochonogor.
According to Jacobs, the accused fraudulently obtained N1.8 billion from the Federal Government between January 2011 and April 2011 in Lagos.
He said that they obtained the sum from the Petroleum Support Fund for purported importation of 80.3 million litres of petrol.
The prosecutor also accused them of forging a bill of lading dated April 28, 2011 to facilitate the fraud.
He said that the offences contravened Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006 as well as Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003.(NAN)