Mettle Energy Nig Ltd Collaborate with Trafigura Beheer BV an Intl Oil Company to Commit Fraud – EFCC witness

A witness, Mr Emefo Etudo, on Wednesday testified before an Ikeja Special Offences Court that international oil companies – Trafigura Beheer BV and Trafigura PTE – were involved in money laundering while transacting businesses in Nigeria.

Etudo, a witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), also testified that the Nigerian associates of the oil firms were equally involved in the crime.

He listed the associates as Yusuf Kwande, Osahon Asemota and their companies, Mettle Energy and Gas, and Renbrandt Ltd.

Etudo told the court that Jil Engineering and Oil Services Ltd. equally engaged in the crime.

The witness was cross-examined by Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, counsel to Kwande, at the resumed trial of Trafigura and the Nigerian associates.

They are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the EFCC.

The EFCC said that they stole Automated Gas Oil (AGO) worth $8.4 million, property of Nadabo Energy Ltd. and kept in the legal custody of the defunct Spring Bank on Victoria Island.

The commission said that the theft took place from Oct. 22, 2008, to Dec. 15, 2008, in contravention of Sections 383(1), 427 and 516 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2003.

Etudo testified that the defendants used funds belonging to Nadabo Energy Ltd., the complainant, to engage in illegal money laundering activities, causing much losses for the company.

According to the witness, the third defendant in the case, Yusuf Kwande, is the alter ego of the international oil company in Nigeria.

Etudo claimed that Kwande used clandestine offices and bank accounts in the money laundering.

“The third defendant is the alter ego of Trafigura in Nigeria; he is the Director of Operations and Administration. He is the one using clandestine offices and bank accounts to further their illegal operations.

“In paragraph 29 of Exhibit P17, we made it clear that the first and second defendants (Trafigura Beheer BV and Trafigura PTE Ltd.) are using Nadabo’s funds in money laundering transactions in Nigeria.

“They lied that they don’t have operational office in Nigeria. They are endangering Nadabo’s resources.

“Trafigura has caused Nadabo Energy Ltd. enormous losses. Nadabo will come to court to give details of the money laundering. About $200 million dollars belonging to Nadabo was endangered.

“Yusuf Kwande is the one responsible for the transactions that failed. He knows everything about Trafigura in Nigeria,” Etudo said.

The witness, a former lawyer to Kwande and Asemota, testified while being cross-examined by Mr Osahon Idemuden, Asemota’s counsel, that he did not have confidence in the veracity of evidence in a suit filed by Renbrandt Ltd. before a Federal High Court against Jil Engineering and Oil Services.

He said that while he was hired as their lawyer, he relied on inaccurate information provided by Mettle Energy and Gas, Rendbrandt Ltd. and the sixth defendant (Asemota) to file the suit.

He said that discrepancies in the averment in the suit before the Federal High Court and a petition he had while serving as attorney to Asemota and the other defendants was a “script perfectly acted by all the defendants to conceal the alleged crime’’.

Etudo claimed in his evidence that he had no knowledge that information given to him while he worked as their lawyer was false.

“I can’t confirm the veracity of the evidence in exhibit P15 (Federal High Court suit filed on behalf of Rendbrandt Ltd.) because I don’t have confidence in the people who gave me the job.

“The information in the suit was given by Mettle, Rendbrandt and their officers. All the defendants in the dock are the people that provided the information to us.

“It is never true that any of the defendants paid for the cargo. Most of the information were false. Trafigura concocted a story that the cargo was contaminated and it was bought by Mettle Energy and Gas Ltd. This statement is false.

“Renbrandt never imported any AGO. Some of the information given to us by Renbrandt were false; Nadabo was never the agent of Renbrandt. Renbrandt and Lubcon were agents of Nadabo. They were agencies contracted in writing.

“As at the time of writing the petition, documents given to me were limited. I did not know then, but now I am wiser,” Etudo said.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until Jan. 23, for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.

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