Alleged $8.4m AGO fraud: Nadabo Energy Funded Transaction, Witness Tells Court
A prosecution witness, Mr Chike Agbim, on Monday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how Nadabo Energy allegedly funded a fraudulent $8.4 million Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) transaction and was swindled in the process.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Agbim, a witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the disclosure during the trial of Trafigura Beheer BV and Trafigura PTE, an international oil company and their Nigerian associates, over the alleged fraud.
The Nigerian associates are – Yusuf Kwande, Osahon Asemota their companies, Mettle Energy and Gas and Renbrandt Ltd and Jil Engineering and Oil Services Ltd.
They are facing three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property proffered against them by the EFCC.
While being led in evidence by Mr Rotimi Jacobs, the lead prosecuting counsel for EFCC, Agbim, a chartered accountant, told the court that he was hired by the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) to investigate the transaction’s Letter of Credit (LC), dated Aug. 27, 2008.
He told the court that the complainant, Nadabo Energy Ltd, was the undisclosed principal, which transferred N684 million from its naira account to Asemota’s company, Redbrandt Ltd, in line with existing agreement between the parties.
Agbim said: “I was appointed by the SFU to investigate the transaction, and determine who opened the LC to Trafigura; and what purpose the LC was meant for.
“Our findings revealed that Lubcon Oil and Gas Ltd opened the LC on behalf of Nadabo Energy through Mettle Energy and Gas, and Redbrandt Ltd (Asemota’s companies). Funds were provided by Nadabo Energy for the transaction.
“Nadabo transferred N684 million out of the balance of N689 million in its naira account to Redbrandt, on Aug. 25, 2008, and Redbrandt transferred N660 million from it to Lubcon.”
The witness said that funds were transferred by Nadabo Energy for the purpose of buying foreign currency for the purchase of 10,000 metric tonnes of AGO to Mobil.
“The sum of N505million was provided to Lubcon to purchase dollars for the purpose of opening the LC of Aug. 27, 2008. The value of the LC was $11.7million. The purpose the LC was to purchase 10, 000 metric tonnes of AGO, meant for supply to Mobil under Nadabo Energy Ltd’s purchase order 4500501282 with Mobil”.
“The balance of $7million required to make up the balance of $11.7 million was provided as credit facility, granted to Nadabo by the Spring Bank”.
“It is our opinion that Nadabo Energy Ltd was an undisclosed principal in the consortium of Redbrandt and Lubcon, which opened the LC for the transaction. Lubcon used N505.9million to purchase $4.7million; and Nadabo Energy Ltd, as at the time of the transaction, had three credit facility lines with Spring Bank. These credit facility lines are $15.1million, N1.8billion and an Alternate Credit Facility of N1.8 billion,” Agbim said.
The EFCC alleged the defendants from Oct. 22, 2008 to Dec. 15, 2008, stole AGO worth $8.4million, which is the property of Nadabo Energy Ltd.
The alleged stolen AGO was kept in the legal custody of the now defunct Spring Bank on Victoria Island.
The offences are contrary to Sections 383(1), 427 and 516 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State Cap. 17 of 2003.
Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until April 2 for continuation of trial. (NAN)