Court sentences oil marketers to 138 years imprisonment

High Court

High Court

• Orders refund of N754 million to FG
• ‘How Tarfa illegally communicated with judge’

Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced Mrs. Ada Ugo-Ngali and the Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Walter Wagbatsoma, to 10-year imprisonment for defrauding the Federal Government of N754 million in oil subsidy transactions.

The presiding judge found them guilty on each of the six-count amended charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Wagbatsoma was sentenced in absentia as he is currently being held in the United Kingdom on charges relating to a £12 million National Health Service (NHS) Trust fraud.

Okunnu, in her ruling, noted: “For each of the counts of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences, the defendants are sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“For each of the counts of obtaining money by false pretences, the defendants are hereby sentenced 10 years in prison.

“For the count of conspiracy to commit forgery, the defendants are sentenced to seven years in prison, for the offence of forgery, the defendants are sentenced to eight years in prison.”

Justice Okunnu said the total sentence was 69 years for each of the defendants but the sentence is to run concurrently.

“I hereby give an order of restitution to Ontario Oil and Gas Limited. The N754 million which was defrauded by the company should be returned to the Federal Government.”

The EFCC had alleged that Wagbatsoma, Ugo-Ndagi and the oil company on July 7, 2010 obtained the sum of N1.9 billion by false pretence from the Federal Government claiming that the money was subsidy payout to the company.

Meanwhile, a prosecution witness, Mr. Danladi Daniel yesterday informed An Ikeja sister court, presided over Justice Aishat Opesanwo, of how a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rickey Tarfa, allegedly initiated illegal communication with a judge.

The senior lawyer is standing trial for a two-count charge of obstruction of justice and pervasion of the course of justice preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.

Daniel, a detective with the Special Task Force of the EFCC told court that Tarfa was in communication with one Justice Mohammed Yinusa of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

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