By AKEEB ALARAPE
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has kicked against granting of bail to an oil marketer, Mr. Oluwaseun Ogunbambo over alleged multiple crimes perpetrated by him. The anti-graft commission yesterday told a Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja that it was still planning to file more charges against Ogunbambo relating to subsidy fraud.
Ogunbambo was re-arraigned by EFCC alongside his business partner, Habila Theck and their company, Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.
They were brought to court on an amended charge of N976.6 million. Ogunbambo was on November 27 arraigned along with Mamman, son of former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, and Christian Taylor, for an amended charge of 13-count of subsidy fraud amounting to about N4.46 billion. While others were allowed to continue enjoying the bail granted them after their first arraignment on July 27, Ogunbambo, who was later joined as a defendant in the case, was asked to file a fresh application for his bail.
Apart from the subsidy-related charges, Ogunbambo was also said to be facing other criminal charges, including a bank fraud case at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Francis Usani, told Justice Onigbanjo that Ogunbambo was being investigated for at least two additional fuel subsidy fraud cases and alleged forgery of British passport.
December 5 and 6 were fixed for commencement of trial while Justice Onigbanjo also fixed December 6 for ruling on Ogunbambo’s bail application. Usani, who opposed the bail application filed by Ogunbambo, said the commission’s investigations on Ogunbambo would soon translate to fresh charges. “The evidence against the defendant is quite weighty and points positively and directly to him.
“There is a case of forgery of British passport. Why we have not filed the charge of forgery against him is because the investigation has an international dimension. We are still going to file the charge after the investigation. “There are three other subsidy cases against the defendant.
We are definitely going to file the charges,” Usani stated. He told the court that Ogunbambo was facing charges of fraud of about N4 billion but had been making a ‘laughable’ out-of-court settlement bid without any commitment to pay back.
The EFCC’s counsel therefore urged the court to deny Ogunbambo bail on the grounds of his alleged multiplicity of identity. However, Ogunbambo’s counsel, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), while arguing the bail application, urged the court to ignore EFCC’s allegations, as his client is still presumed innocent.
Adenipekun said the most important thing for the trial judge to consider was whether the accused would be available for trial or not. He assured the court of the readiness of Ogunbambo to attend trial, saying since, he (Ogunbambo), was granted bail on August 22 during the legal vacation by Justice Lateefat Folami, his actions had not portrayed him as one that was planning to evade trial.