Justice Latifah Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court Friday dismissed an application of a no-case submission filed by Opeyemi Ajuayah, Majope Investment, Abdullahi Alao, Axenergy and Olarenwaju Olalusi.
They are all standing trial in an alleged N798m subsidy scam.
In their consolidated application, the defendants had, through their various counsels, challenged the competency of the charges against them by the prosecution.
They argued that the prosecution was unable to adduce sufficient evidence to justify the continuation of the trial, insisting that a prima-facie case had not been established against them.
They also claimed that the essential elements they were charged with have not been proved by the prosecution.
Also in their submission, the defendants claimed that they were being charged under a wrong law.
They said the prosecution charged them for conspiracy but the punishment enclosed therein which is Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 did not apply to conspiracy.
However, while dismissing the application, Justice Okunnu held that the prosecution had adduced a prima-facie case against the defendants.
On the issue of wrong law as claimed by the defendants, the judge held that the punishment for the alleged offence of conspiracy was also within the Advance Fee Fraud Act as a conspiracy to commit is as good as committing the act.
Consequently, the defendants were ordered to open their defence.
The defendants are standing trial on an 8 – count charge of conspiracy to obtain unearned sum of N798,984,707 from the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Petroleum Support Fund.
The case has been adjourned to June 24, 2016 and July 6th, 26th, 27th, 29th and 30th, 2016 for defence.