The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it is no longer charging suspected oil fraudsters, Durosola Omogbenigun and Peter Mba along with their firms of fraud in the petroleum subsidy fund scheme.
Mr. Oyedepo Rotimi, representing the EFCC, told the Lagos High Court that the charge filed by the anti-graft agency against Omogbenigun and Mba, as well as their respective compnanies, Integrated Resources Limited and Pinnacle Oil and Gas, were a mistake.
Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson struck out the charge following an application by the EFCC, the Punch reported.
The EFCC had alleged that the oil fraudsters were guilty of collecting over N2 billion from the Federal Government under the PSF, without importing any product. The alleged fraudulent foursome were charged with four counts of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses.
However, after receiving instruction from the Attorney General of the Federation, the EFCC is backtracking. They now claim that the suspects did not commit the offenses for which they were arraigned, a conclusion they came to following a review.
Rotimi said, “We have information (charge) dated July, 20 2012 before this court. I have the instruction of the Attorney-General to withdraw the information.
“The information has not been served on the defence. I urge the court to strike out the charge.”
He added, “The charges preferred against the defendants in this case were misconstrued by the prosecution and were inadvertently filed against the said defendants.
“A review of the prosecution’s case and the evidence available to the prosecution clearly showed that the defendants did not commit the offences for which they are charged.
“The complainant/applicant in consideration of the above fact has decided to withdraw the criminal charge before this Honourable Court against the defendant and substitute it with an information already filed at the registry of this Honourable Court in suit No. ID/122C/2012 – Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and others.
“Withdrawing the charge against the defendants will meet the interest of justice in the case.”
The judge said, “At the instance of the prosecution, the information, having been withdrawn, is struck out.”
Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said withdrawal of the charges was a deliberate move “in the face of fresh evidence” adding that the commission “felt the need to firm up the charges, fully convinced that it is better to consolidate the charges ahead of formal arraignment than to start making amendments thereafter”.