A former employee of Sterling Bank, Chumwuemeka Ekwunife, has narrated how a businesswoman and oil marketer, Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma used him to steal the sum of N168.5m from the Federal government of Nigeria using subsidy scheme.
Ekwunife made this revelation before an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos where he is standing trial on an 8-count charge of stealing.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had arraigned Ekwunife and Structured Energy Limited for stealing a total sum of N168.5m from several companies.
The EFCC alleged that Ekwunife, at different times in 2014, stole the said sum of money from, M.R.S oil and Gas, Exit Energy limited, Globin oil and Gas limited, Bond Energy, Greenage Energy Limited – all properties of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited.
The anti graft agency alleged that the defendant stole the money in tranches of N19m, N9m, N85m, N25m and N6.5m sometimes in August, October and November, 2014 from the complaint, Nepal Oil and Gas limited.
However, during proceedings, Ekwunife told the court that one Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma, owner of Nepal Oil and Gas Limited, used him to facilitate false documentations in Liberia in order to obtain money from the FG through subsidy scheme.
Ekwunife, while led in defence by his lawyer, Mr Eubena Amedie, said that he helped Mrs Ekeoma register several companies in Liberia to enable her carry out various importation of petroleum products particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), under the petroleum scheme fund (subsidy scheme) with the FG.
The former banker, who was formerly a Credit Relationship Manager of Sterling Bank, said he resigned from the bank in 2014 after Mrs Ekeoma pleaded with him to join her business and help her provide credit facilities for her companies.
He said: “I met the Managing Director of Nepal Oil and Gas limited, Ngozi Ekeoma in 2010 while i was working with Sterling Bank as a Credit Relationship Manager. Mrs Ekeoma was a customer of the bank and so she came to me to help her provide credit facilities to various companies that she introduced to the bank.
“She introduced companies as Nepal Oil and Gas Limited, Dell Energy Limited, Carnival Energy Oil and Gas Limited.
“So I provided credit facilities for these companies that enabled her carry out various importations of PMS through subsidy scheme with the FG.
“This relationship lasted for four years. And in 2014, I voluntarily resigned from Sterling Bank after she pleaded earnestly with me to join her business.
“So I left my job in the bank to work for her in a contractor/staff arrangement.
“I helped her setup various companies like Structured Energy Resources Limited, Dexter Oil Limited, Ritrak Supply and Trading Limited, Gulf Trading and Shipping Limited – all registered in Liberia.
“These companies were used at various times to carry out trading and documentations related to subsidy by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We produced supporting documents like Bill of Laden, the recertification of products, the certificate of quality and certificate of Origin.
“These documentation were done outside the shores of Nigeria and used for trades that never happened in Nigeria. The documentation were done in Liberia for trades that were not live (feasible).
“For instance, Mrs Ekeoma, in her stock of trade, would arrange documentations to convert dual purpose kerosene to aviation fuel.
“What I mean is that where dual purpose kerosene was supposed to be sold to households, Mrs Ekeoma would instruct us (Myself, Ugochukwu Onwuegbunam, Alexander Uwaezuoke to facilitate and get documentations that the products are jet fuel.
“We would facilitate the documentation and sell the product as Jet fuel, instead of kerosene, to aviation airlines.
“We used these documentations to carry out fraudulent activities by using documents formulated outside the country to perform trade in Nigeria that were not suppose to happen,” he said.
Justice Sherifat Solebo adjourned the matter till July 5, 2019 for continuation of trial.