The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, AbdulRasheed Bawa was at the Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Tuesday for the trial of an oil marketer, Abubakar Ali Peters over an alleged N761m fuel subsidy.
Bawa is the star witness in the case of Abubakar who is being tried by the EFCC alongside his company, Nadabo Energy Limited before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya.
But the proceedings could not go on today, owing to the absence of the defence counsel.
The EFCC prosecutor, Seidu Atteh told the court that the matter which commenced in 2015 has suffered many adjournments owing to the absence of the defence.
Atteh also said the prosecution’s star witness was in court and that he was ready to proceed with the trial.
The defendant, Abubakar who was present in court told the judge that his counsel was to fly into Lagos from Kaduna but he could not tell why he was not in court.
He said he called his counsel just before the court sat but that his phone was switched off.
While answering questions from the judge, Abubakar expressed the hope that his counsel would be in court tomorrow.
Justice Ogunsanya has adjourned the matter till tomorrow, Wednesday, for the continuation of trial.
The EFCC had arraigned Abubakar and his company Nadabo Energy Limited on a 21-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery.
Abubakar is also facing a similar charge brought against him by the anti-graft agency before Justice Christopher Balogun of the same Lagos High Court.
The anti-graft agency accused the defendants of allegedly obtaining the sum N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government under the Petroleum Support Fund for the purpose of importing 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) but fraudulently imported only 7, 953,962 litres and diverted the rest of the product and its proceeds for personal use.
Count one of the charges reads, “ that, you Nadabo Energy limited on or about 26th day of September 2011 in Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division fraudulently obtained the sum of N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented the subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which Nadabo Energy limited purported to have purchased from Delano Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island, and transported the 16,808,064 through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Sonia (daughter vessel) to Nigeria.
Whereas Nadabo Energy limited only imported 7, 953,962 litres of PMS from Delany Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island and transported 7,953,962 litres of PMS through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Songa (daughter vessel) to Nigeria.
Abubakar and his company however pleaded not guilty.