N1.4bn Subsidy Fraud: Pon Specialised Services Not Known To US – Witness
The trial of Helen Aninye, Chizobam Ben-Okafor and their company, Pon-Specialized Services Limited, on allegations of N1.4billion subsidy fraud resumed today before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, with the Economic and Financial Crimes commission presenting its third witness, Virginia Morgan.
Morgan, the Chartering Manager of Sea Transport Services Nigeria Limited located in Lagos, told the court that CAH Resources hired two Vessels to lift fifteen thousand metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and that she does not know Pon Specialised Services Limited.
Led in evidence by Steve Odiase, counsel to EFCC, the witness provided details of the charter transaction with CAH Resources from the first vessel MT Fulmar with Notice of Readiness, NOR, tendered to the Charterers on March 1, 2011 and that of MT Cielo de Napoli on April 1, 2011, both with fifteen thousand metric tonnes of PMS.
she maintained that none of their Vessels came into Nigeria to discharge.
Under cross examination by Tayo Oyetibo SAN, she was asked if it was uncommon for a company to charter a vessel for another. She responded that she was unfamiliar with that routine. She maintained that it was CAH Resources company that she liaised with and that she does not know Pon-Specialised Services limited.
It will be recalled that first prosecution witness, Obinna Kevin Njoku, a staff of the operations department of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority, PPPRA, who testified in July 2015 , told the court that the defendants’ company, Pon-Specialized Services Limited, had a contract with the agency and received approval to import 15, 000 (fifteen Thousand ) Metric Tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit. He confirmed the third accused, Pon specialized company, was paid subsidy of N1.4 billion after it tendered a 39 point verifiable checklist which the agency usually demanded after supply of PMS had been made.
Dennis Kasari, the fourth witness called by the prosecution, also revealed that information obtained from Lloyd Lease Intelligence, an agency that tracks the movement of vessels, revealed that the defendants lied about the itinerary of the vessels that supposedly brought PMS into the country between the months April and July, 2011.
Justice Goodluck adjourned to tomorrow March 2, 2016 for prosecution to present more witnesses.