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Bonga Oil Field: EFCC Moves To Seize $24m

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Bonga Oil Field: EFCC Moves To Seize $24m

Bonga Oil Field: EFCC Moves To Seize $24m
November 29
10:01 2019

The battle over the judgment debt on Bonga Oil Field is not yet over. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed charges against six suspects on the criminal conspiracy that led to the award.

Fingered in the conspiracy are: BCE Consultant Engineering;  BCE Consulting Engineers Limited,  BCE Consulting Engineers Limited; Akinola Ogunlewe ( a former permanent Secretary during the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo); Abolaji Ogunlewe  and Babajide Soyede, an erstwhile employee of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) who incorporated BCE Consulting Engineers.

They are to face trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja  for alleged fraud, tax evasion, related offences, theft, forgery and money laundering

Besides, the EFCC has moved to freeze $24,006,431.85 in the custody of the Registrar of the Court of Appeal.

It has asked the court  for an order to stop all dealings and transactions in a bank account 099900001060 and the funds ($24,006,431.85) therein, held for the benefit of the 1st and 2nd respondents (BCE Consultant Engineering and BCE Consulting Engineers Limited).

There had been issues over the judgment debt between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the three suspects over the initial award of $22,630,000 (now $24,006,431.85 because of interest) against it.

The NNPC had asked the Supreme Court to review the award of $22,630,000 against it.

The apex court however ordered corporation to pay the sum in question to BCE Consulting Engineers over a failed consultancy service contract.

The contract, dated May 20, 1999, was in respect of  SNEPCO Bonga Field Development Project in OPL 212.

The  Federal Government and NNPC have discovered that there was no bid process for the contract and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) was compelled to award it.

Fresh facts also revealed that the contract was hurriedly awarded to BCE, nine days before ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office.

The NNPC believed the Supreme Court did not take into account that BCE contract was among the hurriedly-awarded contracts, the revocation of which Christopher Kolade panel recommended on July 17, 1999.

But on its part, the BCE demanded the judgment sum, claiming that NNPC breached an agreement with it.

The EFCC has now decided to  put six suspects on trial on how the $24 million judgment debt was arrived at.

The EFCC sought for an order that “the bank account listed in the schedule hereto, held for the benefit of the 1st and 2nd respondents, currently being investigated for the fraud, tax evasion, offences of conspiracy, theft forgery and money laundering be temporarily attached and taken over by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pending the conclusion of investigation and consequent prosecution of the offences described aforesaid.

”That all dealings and transactions in the aforesaid bank account and the funds therein, held for the benefit of the 1st, and 2nd respondents, currently being investigated for offences of fraud, tax evasion, conspiracy, theft, forgery and money laundering be suspended and some temporarily vested in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, pending the conclusion of investigation and consequent prosecution of these offences against them.

”And for such further or other orders as this Honourable Court may deem tit to make in the circumstances.”

The charges against the suspects  were filed by Bala Sanga, Abba Muhammed and Ekele Iheanacho.

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Mujeeb

Mujeeb

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