Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Monday, arraigned Jide Omokore; Victor Briggs, former Managing Director of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited; Abiye Membere, former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; David Mbanefo, manager Planning and Commercial of the NNPC; Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 9-count of alleged money laundering and procurement fraud.
Omokore is alleged to have used the Strategic Alliance Agreement signed between the NPDC and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited to swindle the NPDC and the Nigerian government of monies running into billions of dollars through the lifting of crude oil from some oil wells between March 2013 and May 2014.
The other accused persons who were senior management staff of the NNPC are accused of conspiracy in inducing the NPDC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.
They were also accused of receiving car gifts from Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.
Count three of the charge 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 2013 and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court obtained by false pretense and with intent to defraud, 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of $823,75,189.95 from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the false pretence that you had funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited in petroleum operation for the OML 60,61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.
Based on their plea, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, asked the court for a date for the commencement of trial.
After pleas by counsel representing the defendants, Justice Nyako however admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N50 million each with one surety in like sum.
He said the sureties must either be a director in the federal civil service or must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The case was also adjourned to October 19 and 20, 2016 for trial