A former banker, Chukwuemeka Ekwunife, has revealed how an oil marketer and owner of Nepal Oil and Gas, Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma allegedly defrauded the Federal Government of Nigeria of $10m in a fuel subsidy scheme.
Trait News reports that Ekwunife, who resigned from Sterling bank in 2014, had, in a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), insisted that the Mrs Ekeoma transferred Premium motor spirit (PMS) meant for consumption in Nigeria to vessels for subsequent sale overseas.
The petition written by Ekwunife’s solicitors, George Ikoli and Okagbue dated October 22, 2018, revealed that the businesswoman committed the alleged offence sometime in 2011 and 2012.
Included in the petition titled: Complaint of $10m subsidy fraud perpetrated by Ngozi Ekeoma and Nepal Oil and Gas,’ acknowledged and received by the EFCC on November 6, 2019, were attached documents evidencing the fraudulent operational activities carried out by Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma and her company.
As contained in the petition: “In the spirit of patriotism and in consonance with the whistle blowing policy, it is the brief and intendment of our client to reveal a typical crime cycle particularly as regards subsidy during the “Petroleum Subsidy Fund Scheme,” perpetrated by Ngozi Ekeoma.
“Between 3rd and 4th of November, 2011, Mrs Ekeoma undertook a transaction under Nepal oil and Gas services Limited. MT Athiri (vessels chartered by the supplier Mercuria N.V.) delivered 10, 026.704 MT to Nepal’s receiving vessel MT New Ranger.
“Mrs Ekeoma sold back by sending back 7,000.101 MT to Mercuria N.V by pumping back to the mother vessel MT Athiri. Mrs Ekeoma claimed subsidy for 10, 026.704MT against 3,026.603MT on the vessel MT New Ranger. The proceeds are traceable to Cielo trading International Limited c/o Nepal Oil and Gas Limited account with Standard Chartered Bank Dubai, several companies like; Value impact Limited based in Nigeria with domiciliary account with several Nigerian banks particularly Keystone Bank (former Bank PHB), and Diamond Bank; Belmark Enterprise limited; Quest Drilling Limited; and Marshland Energy Limited.
“On November 16 and 17, 2011 Mrs Ekeoma undertook another transaction using Venro Energy Limited PPPRA (Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency) allocation for 15,000MT of PMS. MT Athiri (the mother vessel chartered by the international supplier, Mercuria N.V.) was the vessel that delivered 14, 085.795MT to MT Emantha (the receiving vessel) meant to come into Nigeria under the PSF scheme.
“But Mrs Ekeoma sold back 9,869.059MT to Mercuria N.V, pumped into the same mother vessel MT Athiri. The operation and sale was carried out through Cielo trading International Limited c/o Nepal Oil and Gas Limited.
“Mrs Ekeoma claimed subsidy for 14, 085.795 (19,115,684 litres) against the actual 4,216.736MT on the vessel MT Emantha. The proceed of the illegal sale of 9,869.059MT went to Cielo trading International Limited account with Standard Chartered Bank Dubai.
“Also on November 20 and 30, 2011 Mrs Ekeoma undertook a transaction under the name Carnival Energy Oil and Gas limited (a company she used in collecting 15,000MT PMS from PPPRA; where her brother is a Director). MT Athiri (mother vessel nominated by the international Supplier Mercuria N.V.) was the vessel that delivered 12,407.975MT meant to come into Nigeria under the PSF scheme.
“Mrs Ekeoma illegally sold back 9,992.284 MT to Mercuria N.V pumped into same mother vessel MT Athiri. The illegal sale was carried out using for 12,407.95MT against actual 2,415.691MT on the receiving vessel MT Princess Kayla. The proceeds of illegal sale of 9,992.284MT went to Cielo Trading International Limited account in Standard chartered bank Dubai.
“On the November, 2011 Mrs Ekeoma illegally sold 2,000MT of PMS to Augusta Energy SA from MT Princess Kayla. MT Princess Kayla discharged several quantities to MT Cape Dawson cumulatively 7,025.955MT. Proceed cab be traced to Cielo Trading, Marshland Energy in Nigeria, Value impact limited, Quest Drilling Limited and Nepal oil and Gas domiciliary accounts.
“Lastly, November 16 and 19, 2011 Mrs Ekeoma illegally sold back 3, 642MT of PMS from MT Alpha Prosperity to MT Aidin. Several subsidiaries were claimed with MT Alpha Prosperity. Mt Deep water discharged a total of 3,746.314MT of PMS with certificate of transfer/cargo receipt dated November 9, 2011 (QTY: 425,235MT) and 11th of November, 2011 (Qty: 3,321.079MT).
“We sincerely urge the commission to investigate, recover and possible prosecute the alleged cases of fraud and subsidy scam”.
Meanwhile, Ekwunife had testified that he helped Mrs Ekeoma register several companies in Liberia to enable her carry out various importation of petroleum products particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), under the petroleum scheme fund (subsidy scheme) with the FG.
The Ex-banker narrated that the oil marketer used him to facilitate false documentations in Liberia in order to steal millions of Naira from the Federal government of Nigeria through subsidy scheme.
In his testimony before the Lagos Special Offences Court, Ekwunife said, “I helped her setup various companies like Structured Energy Resources Limited, Dexter Oil Limited, Ritrak Supply and Trading Limited, Gulf Trading and Shipping Limited – all registered in Liberia.
“These companies were used at various times to carry out trading and documentations related to subsidy by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We produced supporting documents like Bill of Laden, the recertification of products, the certificate of quality and certificate of Origin.
“These documentation were done outside the shores of Nigeria and used for trades that never happened in Nigeria. The documentation were done in Liberia for trades that were not live (feasible).
“We (referring to himself and Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma) used these documentations to carry out fraudulent activities by using documents formulated outside the country to perform trade in Nigeria that were not suppose to happen”.