• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Court Dismisses Bid By Petro Union Directors To Halt £2.6bn Fraud Trial

ByHybridNewsNg

Jul 5, 2024

A Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed a No-Case-Submission application filed by three directors of Petro Union Oil and Gas Limited, accused of a £2.6 billion fraud. The ruling, delivered on Wednesday by Justice Mohammed Liman, determined that the Federal Government had established a prima facie case against the company and its directors, necessitating their defense.

The directors on trial are Prince Kingsley Okpala, Prince Chidi Okpalaeze, and Prince Emmanuel Okpalaeze, all of whom have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, attempted theft, and forgery. Justice Liman, however, ruled that the company’s Financial Consultant, Abayomi Kukoyi, has no case to answer due to his professional involvement in the incidents leading to the alleged crime.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting the defendants. The EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), argued that the prosecution had established a prima facie case of fraud against the defendants through its witnesses. Jacobs emphasized that investigations by Union Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bankers’ Committee, and the EFCC confirmed the defendants’ involvement in fraudulent activities.

“We have proved the ingredients of those offences beyond any reasonable doubt, and each defendant should be invited to present their defence to the charge if they have any,” Jacobs stated. “The defendants knew the truth but are insisting that the Federal Government should pay them £2.1 billion. It is our common inheritance that they want to take away. This is a clear case of fraud, and no person with heaven in mind should pursue this case or assist anyone to do so.”

With Justice Liman’s elevation to the Court of Appeal, the criminal trial of Petro Union and its directors is expected to be transferred to another judge of the Federal High Court.

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