$1.6 Billion Nigeria Oil Fraud: Witness Exposes How Omokore Used Company Accounts to Launder Funds
Abuja, March 3, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria was on Friday told how Jide Omokore’s company, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited accounts were used to launder millions of dollars suspected to be proceeds of oil fraud.
Omokore, an ally of a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited on a nine-count amended charge, of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion, alleged to be proceeds of petroleum products belonging to the federal government
Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, counsel to the EFCC, Ayilara Abdul, a compliance officer with Skye Bank Plc, revealed how the account accused company’s account within a period of about 12months (March 2013 – February 2014) received credit inflow of over $140million (one hundred and forty million dollars).
She said, “Some time in 2015, we got a request from EFCC, asking for information on all accounts in the name of Espidal Nigeria Limited and Marine Company Limited, that we should furnish them with the account opening package, statement of account and certificate of identification as well as bank verification number (BVN), linked to the account. This was done.
“And sometime last month (February, 2018), the same request was received from the EFCC to furnish them with the same information too”.
The Sky Bank reply letter to the EFCC including the account opening package, statement of account and certificate of identification were shown to the witness and he identified them.
Same were thereafter tendered by Jacobs and admitted in evidence, as there was no objection to its admissibility by the defence.
Thus: The reply letter to the EFCC was admitted as ‘Exhibit Atlantic 38’; Certificate of Identification as ‘Exhibit Atlantic 39’; Account Opening Package as ‘Exhibit Atlantic 40, 1 – 37’ and Statement of Account, admitted as ‘Exhibit Atlantic 41’.
The witness also told the court that “the signatories to ‘Exhibit Atlantic 40’ (the Account Opening Package) were Chief Olajide Omokore and Doyin Femi-Johnson”.
The witness further revealed that “in ‘Exhibit Atlantic 41’, from page 1 – 8, is the naira account; from page 9 – 11 is the Euro account; from pages 12 and 13 is the Great Britain Pounds account; from page 14 – 50 is the United States Dollars account”.
When asked to turn to page 30 of ‘Exhibit Atlantic 41’ and tell the court about the transactions therein Abdul said:
“On March 8, 2013, there was a credit inflow from Atlantic Energy into this account. The amount is $15,499,950;
“On that same day, there was a transfer of $1million into Skymit account;
“On March 11, 2013, there was a transfer of $1,002,643.83 in favour of Skymit Limited”.
Referring to page 31 of the same exhibit, the witness said, “On March 19, 2013, there was a credit inflow of $8,600,000million by order of Atlantic;
“On March 12, 2013 there was an inflow of $4,999,50 by order of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept limited;
“On April 26, 2013, there was an inflow of $2million by order of Atlantic”.
The witness went on: “On page 32 of the same exhibit, on May 20, 2013, there was an inflow of $1million by order of Atlantic Energy;
“On May 22, 2013, there was an inflow of $4million by order of Olajide Omokore and on the same day, there was an inflow of $2million by Kolawole Aluko”.
He continued; “On May 31, 2013, there was an inflow of $20million dollars by order of Atlantic.
“On June 14, 2013, there was an inflow of $4million by order of Atlantic.
“On June 20, 2013, there was an inflow of $6million and the credit into the account was done by Olajide Jones Omokore.
“On June 27, 2013, there was an inflow of $2,899,940 by order of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited;
“On July 15, 2013, there was an inflow of $27,500,000 by order of Atlantic Energy;
“On July 30, 2013 there was an inflow of $11million by order of Atlantic Energy”.
The PW6 further revealed that several lodgments were also made the following year (2014).
He said: “On February 6, 2014, there was an inflow of $34,500,000 by order of Atlantic Energy;
According to Abdul, “the outstanding balance in the said account as at December 1, 2015 was $95,533,71″.
The case was thereafter adjourned to April 19, 26 & 27, 2018 for continuation of trial.