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Subsidy scam: Court rules over jurisdiction June 4

An FCT High Court is to deliver ruling on June 4 on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the N1.4bn oil subsidy case filed against two oil marketers.

The marketers, Helyn Aninye, Chizobam Ben-Okafor and their company, Pon-Specialised Services Limited, were arraigned in May 2011 on an 18 count of conspiracy.

They were alleged to have fraudulently obtained N1.4bn from the Federal Government as subsidy for the importation of premium motor spirit.

Justice Olasunbo Goodluck of the FCT High Court fixed the date on Wednesday after she said the ruling was not ready.

The accused are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.

The accused persons had on January 29, through their counsel, Mr Solomon Edoho who held brief for Mr Nourisson Quaker, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

They claimed that it was a matter of admiralty, and that the Federal High Court had exclusive jurisdiction on matters of admiralty.

However, counsel to EFCC, Mr Steve Odiase, had told the court that it was not a matter of admiralty as the product was out of the vessel and the vessel was no longer in the sea.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EFCC arraigned the accused persons on May 31, 2013.

They were said to have conspired to obtain the amount from the Federal Government by falsely claiming that it represented subsidy accruing to the company.

They were also said to have claimed that the subsidy was under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 15,000 MT of petrol.

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