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Trial of oil firm begins today

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A Lagos High Court in Ikeja will today begin the trial of how an international firm, Trafigura Baheer BV, and its Nigerian counterpart, Trafigura PTE Ltd, allegedly defrauded Nigerian companies in a 10,000 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil worth N200 million, which reportedly led to the bankruptcy of Spring Bank, the financial institution that financed the deal.

Joined as defendants in the case are two Nigerians, Yusuf Yahaya Kwande, and Osahon Asemota.

The other companies that are defendants include Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, Renbrandt Ltd, and JIL Engineering and Oil Services Ltd. In the information filed before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a three-count charge has been preferred against the defendants.

Count one stated that Messrs Trafigura Baheer BV, Yusuf Yahaya Kwande, Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, Renbrandt Ltd, and Osahon Asemota, sometimes in 2008 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the court, conspired together to commit felony to wit: stealing of about 6,425,271 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) worth about $8,442,806.094, property of Nadabo Energy Ltd, which was under the legal custody of Spring Bank Plc, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Count two stated that Messrs Trafigura BV, Yusuf Yahaya Kwande, Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd, and Osahon Asemota between October 12, 2008, and December 15, 2008 at the office of Trafigura Baheer BV, 20, Sinari Daranijo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, stole, by fraudulently converting to your own use and benefit, about 6,425,271 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) worth about $8,442,806.094, property of Nadabo Energy Ltd.

The trial is scheduled to start before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja today.

It was gathered that preparation for the case took the EFCC 10 years, with international investigations carried out, before trial could begin.

It is also a case of corporate international conspiracy of oil theft that led to the fall of a Nigerian financial institution that financed the oil deal.

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