Court Clears Omokore And Companies Of $1.6 Billion In Corruption Allegations
The Federal High Court in Abuja Friday cleared Jide Omokore, the chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd., of accusations of fraud and money laundering after almost seven years of legal pyrotechnics.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the prosecution, and two of Omokore’s companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited, were exonerated by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on the grounds that the prosecution had not proven the elements of the charges.
The defendants were charged by the anti-graft agency in 2016 for allegedly stealing more than $1.6 billion from the Federal Government on the pretense of an oil exchange.
It had claimed that the defendants got crude oil from the government while allegedly lacking the resources or know-how necessary to carry out the deal.
Justice Dimgba, however, who delivered the decision Wednesday, referred to the problems as “a relationship that has gone wrong.”
The court divided the 15 charges into four categories for clarity: money laundering, taking possession of money-laundering profits, acquiring by false pretense, and conspiracy to get by false pretense.
The presiding court ruled that there was no evidence that the first to third defendants got the abovementioned oil exchange contract from the Federal Government under false pretense after carefully examining the oral and documentary evidence that was presented to him.
The agreement between the first to third defendants was exposed by the evidence of one of the witnesses, a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the disbanded Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, that it was duly filed and agreed into by the parties.
While noting that the agreements were not obtained by fraud or any other illegal methods, Justice Dimgba said that his findings revealed the defendants followed legitimate process in lifting and selling crude oil to other parties.