They were re-arraigned on a nine-count amended charge, of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion alleged to be proceeds of petroleum products belonging to the federal government.
Count one reads: “That you Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May and October 2013 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, induced the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver to you 5,652,227 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) amounting to the sum of US$616,013,615.27 (Six Hundred and Sixteen Million, Thirteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifteen US Dollars, Twenty Seven Cents) through the medium of contract, which delivery was induced by the false pretence to wit: that you had technical competence, professional skills and funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support NPDC in petroleum operation for the contract area and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishment under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
Count eight reads: “That you Victor Biggs (while being the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC), Abiye Membere (while being the Group Executive, Exploration & Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC), David Mbanefo (while being Manager, Planning & Commercial of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, NNPC) and Diezani Alison-Madueke (at large) (while beingthe Minister of Petroleum Resources) between 2013 and 2014 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did abet the commission of money laundering by Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlanatic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
They pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them. In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial, and to allow the defendants to enjoy the bail earlier granted them by Justice Binta Nyako.
Counsel to the defendants did not object to the request of Jacobs, urging the court to accede to his request.
Justice Dimgba, thereafter fixed December 8, 2016 for hearing in the case, adding that: “I hereby adopt the bail terms as mine”. It would be recalled that Omokore and his co-defendants were first arraigned before Justice Nyako, on July 4, 2016, but the case file was afterwards transferred to Justice Dimgba by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
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