The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed how one Walter Wagbatsoma, a suspect allegedly involved in the fuel subsidy scam, travelled to four European countries without his passport.
The commission had brought a case of conspiracy, obtaining property by false pretence, forgery and uttering false documents against Wagbatsoma alongside Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, Fakuade Babafemi Ebenezer and their company, Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
On Friday, Lateefat Okunnu, a judge of the Lagos state high court, sitting in Ikeja, adjourned proceedings in the case till October 14.
The adjournment followed fiery exchanges between the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, and counsel to the first defendant, Onyeke, over the continued absence of Wagbatsama from trial.
Jacobs had filed an application urging the court to continue proceedings without the first defendant whom he said had absconded from justice.
He said despite the court being in possession of the first defendant’s international passport, he still travelled out of the country to four countries namely, France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany with four different passports claiming to be critically ill without informing the court.
He said the conduct of the accused contravened section 2(1) and section 352(4) of the administration of criminal justice act.
Jacobs said the first defendant was arrested in Germany, extradited and placed on house arrest for unconcluded criminal charges.
He urged the court to continue proceedings without the first defendant and to compel the defence counsel to produce the physician who referred the first defendant to Germany for medical treatment.
Onyeke dismissed the submission by the prosecution on the whereabouts of the first defendant as a mere market-place gossip, adding that his client hasd not absconded from justice but merely travelled for medical treatment.
He confirmed that his client was arrested in Germany, but said it was only on suspicion, and that temporary admission had been issued to his client, whom he said was not charged with any offence.
On July 7, 2010, the defendants allegedly obtained the sum of N340 million from the federal government, purporting the money to be subsidy payable to Ontario Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.