From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal High Court, Abuja will today deliver judgment on the trial of Jide Omokore, an ally of a former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Omokere, alongside Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo were arraigned on a nine-count criminal charge for diverting about $1.6 billion alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.
Jide Omokere and his co-defendants were initially arraigned on July 4, 2016. However, following more findings, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission re-arraigned the defendants on November 21, 2016, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, alongside two of Omokore’s companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Ltd.
Part of the offences were said to be contrary to section 1 (1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act and punishment under section 1(3) of the same Act. One of the prosecution witnesses, Mr. Olutaye Ayeni, had told the court on April 26, 2018, that he sold cars worth $8 million to Jide Omokore who bought them for friends and associates.
Ayeni, chief executive officer, Skymit Motors and the seventh prosecution witness said, “We sold to the defendant Mercedes Benz S550, at the cost of N26 million, in the name of Mbanefo David/Chief Omokore and another Mercedes M350, at the cost of N23 million in the name of Nneka Bricks.”
“$1.26 million was credited to Skymit. Other payments received from the defendant’s Skye Bank account include – $1 million on November 6, 2013; two payments of $1million each on July 8, 2014; $1.5 million on August 11, 2014, and $1million on September 17, 2014,” a document already in evidence before court read.