Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has admitted documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the ongoing trial of Mr. Jide Omokore, the embattled chairman of Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, for a $1.6 billion fraud.
The documents, which included Internal Memos from the Group Managing Director (GMD), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and letters from the NNPC to the Director, Banking and Payment Department of the Joint Ventures Companies, and Payment Schedules, were admitted and marked as Exhibits Atlantic 14 – Atlantic 28.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, tendered the documents in evidence through the third prosecution witness, Mohammed Abiri, a former accountant with the NNPC.
While being led in evidence by Jacobs, Abiri, who was also a technical assistant to the GMD, Finance and Accounts at NAPIMS, and a former chief supervisor at Chevron Joint Ventures, gave insights into the operations of the NNPC, particularly the OML60 series.
He said: “The OML60 series is a joint venture between Agip Oil Company and NNPC in ratio 60:40 and in 2012 there was divestment, during which OML60 series was transferred to NPDC and NAPIMS.
“Between 2016 and 2017, NPDC has paid $194 million and N43 billion totalling $466 million.”
When asked by Jacobs, whether Omokore’s companies made payments with respect to the OML60 series, Abiri said: “To the best of my knowledge I am just hearing about these companies for the first time and cash calls were never paid by them.”
Justice Dimgba, thereafter, adjourned to July 10, 2017 for continuation of trial.
Omokore is standing trial along with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
They were re-arraigned on November 21, 2016 on a nine-count amended charge, of criminal diversion of about $1.6 billion alleged to be proceeds of petroleum products belonging to the federal government.