A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja and presided over by Justice Lateefat Okunnu was on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 told that Opeyemi Ajuyah who is standing trial alongside Olarenwaju Olafusi, Majope Investment Limited, Axenergy Limited and Abdullahi Alao, for allegedly conspiring to commit N1.1 billion fuel subsidy fraud, forged a shore certificate to access payment for its subsidy claims by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.
EFCC’s witness in the case, Mohammed Ali Adedapo, told the court that the shore certificate did not originate from his company as alleged by the defendants. The five defendants who are accused by the EFCC of obtaining money from the Federal Government over purported importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) had earlier claimed that the shore certificate came from Adedapo’s Q&Q Control Services Nigeria Limited.
According to the witness, though his name and signature were contained in the shore certificate presented by the defendants, he neither issued the certificate nor appended his signature on it. The shore certificate showed that 15, 000 metric tons of fuel were discharged instead of the 4,000 metric tons which Adedapo witnessed discharged. Another exhibit P4I and P4H was also shown to him and he confirmed the exhibit as the document he prepared and signed for the discharge of 4, 000 metric tons. Adedapo also disowned an empty tank certificate showed to him in court saying that he never prepared an empty tank certificate or signed any as the tank was not empty to his knowledge. He further said that some fuel was in the tank while on board "and an empty tank certificate cannot be issued except the tank is empty". Adedapo was led in evidence by the EFCC's counsel, Francis Usani.
Adedapo explained to the court that his company, Q&Q Control Services Nigeria limited was contracted by Oando Gas $ Oil to inspect the discharge of 15,000 metric tons of fuel from MT Brief into Lasser Jetty on January 20, 2011. According to him, 4,000 metric tons was discharged and a certificate was issued for the discharge and this discharge took about 24 hours to complete. He wondered how the defendants arrived at 15,000 metric tons because it would take 4days to discharge such a quantity of fuel.
Oludare Falana, counsel to 1 & 2 defendants crossed -examined the witness. He asked him to confirm his qualification and give a sample of his signature while in the dock and this was admitted as exhibit P6. Wale Akoni, SAN, during his cross- examination showed Adedapo exhibit P4A – P4I to confirm if it was issued by him and he confirmed that it was signed by him. Akoni requested for the witness statement with the EFCC and, it showed that Adedapo made a protest report regarding the discrepancy in the product discharge but he never mentioned this when he was asked what he did when he detected that the discharge was less than the contracted quantity ordered by Oando.
This development prompted Usani to re-examine the witness by asking him to explain what he meant by a protest report. Adedapo cleared the matter by explaining that the report was meant to show the discrepancy in the product discharge. The report, he said, was given to the captain of the vessel and also to Oando.
Justice Okunnu, after listening to all the submissions, adjourned the case to July 24; October 21, 30, 31 and November 1st, 2013 for continuation of trial.
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