Court Grants Ex-NNPC Boss, Andrew Yakubu, Jide Omokore Bail | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Grants Ex-NNPC Boss, Andrew Yakubu, Jide Omokore Bail

Andrew Yakubu, Ex NNPC Boss
Posted: Jul 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stephen Ubimago       

A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has granted bail to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu; the chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd., Mr. Jide Omokore; and four others.

Presiding judge, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, who gave the ruling, ordered the defendants to provide bail bonds of N50 million each, with one surety in like sum.

Messrs. Omokore and Yakubu were charged along with a co-owner of Atlantic Energy, Kola Aluko; Victor Briggs; Abiye Memnere; David Mbanefo.

Others charged along with them are corporate entities: Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.

The surety should have properties in Abuja and should depose to an affidavit of means; while the defendants should submit their international passport or passports.

They are also to remain in the court premises until they meet their bail conditions.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had earlier struck out the name of one of the defendants, Kola Aluko, who is said to be at large.

Aluko jointly owns Atlantic Energy with Omokore, who is said to be an ally of former petroleum minister, Mrs. Dienazi Allison-Madueke.

The company was allegedly used to divert N400 million purportedly for the importation of petroleum products in 2011.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had asked the judge to remove Aluko’s name from the charge sheet since he (Aluko) could not be reached and had not been served the notice of summons.

Jacobs had argued that the prosecution was not under compulsion to produce a defendant at large before arraigning other co-accused in the same matter.

But counsel to one of the defendants, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), said the fact that one of the defendants had not been served with the court processes was a fundamental defect that would affect the entire proceeding.

“Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act states that there is no trial without arraignment, or service of charge,” Oyetibo averred.

He maintained that the prosecution had forced an adjournment of the matter on June 20 to allow it to ensure the full participation of all parties involved in the case, adding that the inability of the prosecution to provide a proof of service for one of the defendants was a defect that should not be overlooked.

But Justice Murtala-Nyako ruled that the outcome of the trial would affect all those involved in the charge.

She however noted that a defendant at large could still be served with his notice of summons, and ruled that unless the prosecution employed other methods to serve the missing defendant, the charge could not be said to be ripe for reading to the other defendants.

In response to the ruling by Justice Murtala-Nyako, Jacobs asked that defendant Aluko be removed from the list of defendants.

He had earlier told the court that the charge was amended to include a nine-count charge, which was later read to the other defendants.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial was adjourned to October 19 and 20.

In 2011, Atlantic Energy, alongside other companies, was reportedly given multibillion naira worth of oil assets without due process.

At the time, the company, which was barely a year old and had no history of crude oil production, was awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks – OML 30 and 34 – for just over $50 million each.

The deal, which was signed by the immediate past minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave Atlantic Energy Limited a controlling 55 percent stake in the oil block.

Shell, which owned the remaining 45 per cent stake, fetched $1.3 billion for a single field after an open and competitive bidding process.

The company was also accused of lifting crude oil, but remitting only a fraction of its worth to government.

In 2012, according to NNPC insiders, Atlantic Energy paid $168m into government account, but lifted about three million barrels, valued at over $350 million.

In 2013, it also lifted about two million barrels of crude valued at about $240million, but paid only $68million.

Similarly, in 2014, Atlantic Energy paid zero cash-call, but lifted about 500,000 barrels of crude oil, valued at $54 million.

Mr. Yakubu was the GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014 when Atlantic Energy allegedly lifted oil without remitting what was due to government.