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Court jails NNPC ex-official three years for N6b fraud

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Former military commander forfeits N293 million, others
The Kaduna Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of one Abdulkadir Mohammed Salihu, a former Sales Assistant of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kaduna Depot.

He was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on fraud to the tune of N6 billion before Justice Z.B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Kaduna.

Salihu, who was in charge of loading manifests at the depot, was arrested on October 29, 2019 and arraigned on March 25, 2020.

He pleaded guilty to the charges, paving way for the prosecution lawyer, Deborah Ademu-Eteh, to ask his sentencing.

In a statement, the anti-graft agency’s Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said trouble began for the convict when several petitions against him were submitted to the Kaduna zonal office of the organisation, and upon investigation, it was discovered that he conspired with other marketers to lift petroleum products at the facility worth over N6 billion without payment.

Investigation further revealed that Salihu was part of the cartel behind multiple loading of products during a period covering 2009 to 2017.

Following his guilty plea, Justice Abubakar sentenced the accused to three-year imprisonment with an option of N1 million fine.

The accused, according to the judge, would also forfeit the following items: one unit of three-bedroom apartment and a unit of two-bedroom boy’s quarter situated at 2 Kpak Close off College Road, Kurmin Mashin, Kaduna; a storey building containing four bedrooms and one bedroom self-contain with its appurtenances situated at 4, Kpak Close among others.

Other properties forfeited to the Federal Government include five vehicles, namely one Odyssey Space Bus; a Toyota Tacoma pick-up; a Toyota RAV 4 SUV; a Lexus 350 SUV and a Mitsubishi petroleum tanker.

The presiding judge also ordered the defendant to forfeit his gratuity and 30 per cent of his monthly pension to government.

In a similar vein, a Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of N293 million, six parcels of land and 30,000 MTN shares recovered from a former commander of the military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, in the Niger Delta, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe (rtd).

Justice Mohammed Liman made the order for the temporary forfeiture of the assets to the Federal Government following an ex parte application filed by the EFCC.

An investigating officer of the EFCC, Adamu Yusuf, said Atewe purchased the shares for N170, 350,000.

The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the assets.

After listening to him, Justice Liman granted the prayers and ordered that the temporary forfeiture order be published in a national newspaper.

The judge subsequently adjourned till April 20 for anyone interested in the assets to appear before him to show reasons why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.


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