Fuel subsidy fraud: Court refuses young Tukur, Arisekola-Alao's application Solamon Alternative Energy
Lagos (WorldStageNewsonline)-- A Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Friday rejected the requests of Mahmud Tukur, son of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, AlhajiBamangaTukur and AbdullahiAlao, son of Ibadan based businessman, AlhajiAbdulazeezArisekola-Alao, for a leave to travel abroad while their trial over alleged fraud in fuel subsidy collection is ongoing.
Justice LateefatFolami, a vacation judge, told the accused persons including Felix Ochonogor, who are directors of one of the oil companies indicated for oil subsidy scam, Oil Marketing and Trading Companies (OM&Ts) to wait until their trial judge, Justice AdeniyiOnigbanjo resume from his annual vacation to hear the application.
The judge while ruling on the application by the trio seeking the permission of her court to travel abroad for Hajj and business trip that she cannot overrule the earlier order granted by the trial courts which adjourned the matter till November 13, 2012.
According to Justice Folami, she cannot grant their application to travel outside the country, since Justice AdeniyiOnigbanjo, who ordered the seizure of their travelling documents did so to ensure that they appear for their trial on the fixed dates.
The court also held that allowing them to travel for Hajj rites which would begin in October will clash with the November dates earlier fixed for trial by the trial Judge and that the dates allegedly meant for their business trip abroad had been overtaken by event.
The accused persons who were arraigned in July by the Economic and Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice AdeniyiOnigbanjo over their alleged roles in the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) fraud were specifically accused of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence, forgery and use of false documents.
In their Motion on Notice dated August 14, 2012 before the vacation Judge, the applicants had through their counsel, OlaniranObele said they need to travel to Paris and London for a business trip.
Specifically, Mahmud, the first applicant wants to travel abroad to attend a board and committee meetings of which he is a director and also intend to perform this year's Hajj.
Ochonogor, the second applicant also want to travel to Paris to enable him attend a bond holder meeting which should have hold last month but was rescheduled to August 27 to enable him attend and explain his present situation before the board.
In their application, they tendered three exhibits comprising Notices of Meetings which they intend to attend both in London and Paris.
Their lawyer had argued before. Justice Folami that the applicants will not abscond should their application be granted, adding that the first applicant's father who is PDP Chairman stood surety for him and he would not want to jeopardise that.
The second applicant was abroad when they were charged and was called by the first applicant and he came back for his arraignment voluntarily.
"When they were granted administrative bail, the second defendant traveled to Ukraine and did not abscond but came back for his arraignment", he said.
However, opposing the application, EFCC counsel, RotimiOyedepo told the court that Justice Onigbanjo's order asking the applicants to drop their International Passport has not been reviewed.He said there was nothing in the exhibits tendered by the applicants that showed or suggesting to show that the meeting to be attended by the second applicant has been rescheduled.