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Court gives EFCC nod to investigate Yanaty Petrochemical over N1.8bn subsidy fraud

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By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE

Every legal encumbrances that would have thwarted Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC)  has been removed as the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday

 ordered Yanaty Petrochemical Limited, an oil marketing company, to submit itself for investigation by the EFCC over an alleged N1, 840, 768, 720 petroleum subsidy fraud.

It was learnt that the EFCC had dragged the defendant before the appellate court to set aside the judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that all investigations into the alleged petroleum subsidy fraud against the defendant had been concluded.

In a unanimous ruling, Justice E. J. Ekanem said Justice Ademola’s judgment was an undue interference with the statutory power of the EFCC which has the power to investigate economic and financial crimes.

Justice Ekanem further held that the EFCC had a measure of discretion ‘‘to determine whether an investigation should continue, has been concluded or be re-opened.’’

Yanaty’s Managing Director, Elias Adeojo, was given approval by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, (PPRA) to import 30,000 tons of premium motor spirit, (PMS) under the Petroleum Support Scheme in the first quarter of 2011.

The defendant claimed he imported 31, 256 .992 metric tons equivalent to 42, 171, 630 million litres in March, 2011 via MT Beaver.

Yanaty purportedly discharged the product at Lister Oil Jetty, Lagos, which is managed by Oando Marketing Plc. As a result, Yanaty allegedly received the sum of N2, 731, 942, 103.73 as subsidy for purportedly discharging 42, 773, 279 million litres of PMS.

However, during investigation, Oando, operator of Lister oil jetty, disclosed that MT Beaver discharged only  10, 187.353 metric tons, which is equivalent to 13, 952.926 million litres) of PMS for Yanaty, as opposed to 31, 256.992 it claimed to have discharged.

Yanaty, therefore, allegedly received the sum of N1, 840,768,720 as unearned subsidy from the Federal Government.

Counsel to the defendant, Michael Anache, had filed a case against the PPRA and its Executive Secretary before Justice A. R. Muhammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking a declaration that all investigations against them by law enforcement agencies had been concluded.

Though the EFCC was not joined in the suit before Justice Muhammed, judgment was given in favour of Yanaty.

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Also, in an effort to prevent further investigation into its activities, Yanaty, thereafter, filed another case against the EFCC before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an interpretation of the judgment delivered by Justice Muhammed.

It urged Justice Ademola to rely on the earlier judgment delivered by Justice Muhammed declaring that all investigations against it( Yanaty) had been concluded.

However, while moving his plea at the last sitting, counsel to EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that EFCC was not joined in the first suit before Justice Muhammed.

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