Alleged N43.5m fraud: Absence of counsel stalls NOGASA chairman’s trial

The trial of the Chairman of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria, (NOGASA), Philips Fatuyi,  charged with N43.5 million fraud, was on Friday stalled due to absence of his counsel, Mr Olarewaju Ajanaku.

Fatuyi is standing trial alongside his company, Oceanview Oil and Gas Nig. Ltd. on a two-count charge of obtaining money by false pretences before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

The defendant, who was arraigned on April 7, 2022, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),  Mr Spife Owede, informed the court on Friday that his attention was called to a letter sent by  defence counsel to a prior notification that he would not be present in court.

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“This morning my attention was drawn to a letter from defence counsel that he would not be in court, today.

“I saw the counsel fully robed in this court on Monday, yet he said that he had not been to office this week.

“My lord, he has refused to suggest a date, and the reason is not farfetched.

“It is so that when we take a date, he will say it is not convenient, but we will oblige him reluctantly,”  the prosecution said.

EFCC had on March 30 presented its last witness  and closed its case against the defendant.

The commission alleged that Fatuyi obtained the sum of N43.5 million from one Elochukwu Okoye and Elebana Unique Ventures Nig. Ltd. on behalf of WAPCIL Nig. Ltd. under false representation that he would give them the dollar equivalent.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until June 16 for defendant to begin defence.

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