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‘$200m scam’: Defunct Spring Bank depositors protest in court

‘$200m scam’: Defunct Spring Bank depositors protest in court
November 07
07:24 2018

There was a mild drama yesterday at an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, as depositors of the defunct Spring Bank protested.

A case of $200 million diesel fraud instituted against an international oil company, Trafigura Baheer BV and its Nigerian associates, Yahaya Kwande, Osahon Asemota and five other companies, is ongoing at the court.

The protesters, who stormed the court premises, claimed that Spring Bank collapsed because it financed the oil contract, thereby making them to lose their deposits.

They implored the court to do justice by ordering the accused to pay back the funds they allegedly stole from the bank so that they could get back their deposits.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had instituted a three-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, stealing and receiving stolen property against Trafigura Beheer BV, Kwande and Asemota before Justice Mojisola Dada.

They were charged alongside their other companies, Trafigura PTE Ltd, Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, Renbrandt Ltd and Jil Engineering and Oil Services Ltd.

During resumed proceedings yesterday, counsel to Asemota, Mr. Anthony Osa-Orhue Agarunwonyi, told the court that the health of his client had further deteriorated and that he could hardly walk.

Osa-Orhue Agarunwonyi challenged the lead prosecuting counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), to use instrument at his disposal to verify the health status of Asemota.

He urged the court to grant an adjournment again for him to get better.

Osa-Orhue Agarunwonyi tendered before the court a copy of the medical report he produced in court at the last adjourned date and said he would soon file a fresh medical report before the court.

Responding, Jacobs described the medical report as “strange”, noting that it did not disclose any information.

At that juncture, Justice Dada reminded the lawyer of his promise to bring his client to court today (yesterday).

Responding, Agarunwonyi pleaded with the court to give Asemota more time to recover.

Trafigura Beheer BV and Trafigura PTE Ltd were represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), leading his son, Bode, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, while Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) represented the third defendant, Yahaya Kwande.

Justice Dada adjourned the case till November 28 for arraignment and trial of the defendants.

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