By Olumide Bajulaiye
Two members of an oil syndicate, Emmanuel Owoicho, Managing Director, Owoema Resources Limited, and Michael Morowei Oghenemi, Managing Director, Standard Allied Universal Concept Limited, have been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Peter. O. Affen of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja.
Owoicho and Oghenemi are being prosecuted on a 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
The accused persons allegedly conspired to sell a consignment of Bonny Light crude oil purportedly from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Bascom Energy Limited to the tune of N102m.
The suspects, at various times, collected money up to N115m for the crude oil which was never supplied.
Count three of the charge read:
“That you, Emmanuel Owoicho being the Managing Director of Owoema Resources Limited, and Owoema Resources Limited on or about the 30th April, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N5,000,000.00( Five Million Naira Only) from Bascom Energy Limited paid through Deo Finance Company Limited UBA Plc Account No. 1015267491 under the false pretence that it was part payment for processing the sale of Nigeria Light Crude Oil to the said Bascom Energy Limited, which representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Following their plea, counsel to EFCC, Sylanus Tahir, prayed the court for a date to commence trial and remand the suspects in prison custody.
However, counsel to the accused, K.B. Asunogei, urged the court to allow the accused remain in the EFCC custody pending consideration of their bail application.
Justice Effen, after listening to the submissions of the counsel, adjourned to Tuesday, February 24, 2015 for hearing on the bail application.