From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of fraud allegations.

The court however convicted a former director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company(NPDC), Victor Briggs and ex-Group Executive, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Abiye Membere for public corruption.

Although they were discharged and acquitted on other counts, they were convicted for accepting gifts of Mercedes Benz and Range Rover cars from Omokore.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba has ordered that both convicts be remanded be remanded in the custody of the EFCC pending their sentencing fixed for February 8.

Omokore was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were alleged to have fraudulently diverted about $1.6bn alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the federal government.

Related News

Omokere, alongside   Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo were arraigned on a nine-count criminal charge for diverting about $1.6bn 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 witness, Mr. Olutaye Ayeni, had told the court on April 26, 2018, that he sold cars worth worth $8 million to Jide Omokore who bought them for friends and associates.

Ayeni, chief executive officer, Skymit Motors and the 7th prosecution witness said “We sold to the defendant Mercedes Benz S550 at the cost of N26million in the name of Mbanefo David/Chief Omokore and another Mercedes M350 at the cost of 23million in the name of Nneka Bricks.”

“$1.26million was credited to Skymit. Other payments received from the defendant’s Skye Bank account include – $1millon on November 6, 2013; two payments of $1million each on July 8, 2014; $1.5million on August 11, 2014, and $1million on September 17, 2014,” a document already in evidence before court read.