Tuesday, June 24, 2014

EOCO under fire in court

The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) came under fire yesterday when a legal practitioner accused it of conniving with the UT Bank and an oil company to operate an account which had been frozen by EOCO.
According to Mr James Abiaduka, counsel for Soleushing Nigeria, EOCO conspired with the UT Bank and Auxesia Energy Limited to make it possible for Auxesia Energy to operate its account, although it had been frozen by EOCO.
But the Managing Director of Auxesia Energy, Mrs Faith A. Odulu, denied the lawyer’s claims and insisted that her company had not been able to operate the account till date.
She also accused the UT Bank of withdrawing $391,250 without her company’s consent, in fulfilment of a “Nicodemus” move by Soleushing Nigeria.
 Mr Abiaduka attempted to stop her from using the word “Nicodemus” but the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, allowed the word to stand.
Answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Abiaduka, who is counsel for Soleushing Nigeria, one of the parties in the case, Mrs Odulu also denied claims that a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) she had signed with a supplier of low pour fuel oil (LPFO) had been an afterthought.
She also denied that an invoice prepared by Earth Petroleum, the company that supplied Auxesia Energy with the LPFO, had been forged.
Asked how huge sums of money were paid and withdrawn from the company’s account while the freezing order was ongoing, Mrs Odulu said she could not tell.
It also emerged that an amount of $474,686.38 had been debited to her account in the name of BNKPD while the account was frozen, but Mrs Odulu said, “I know nothing about that.”

Background to the case

The Financial Division of the High Court is currently gathering both oral and documentary evidence to determine the actual owner of $391,250 which the UT Bank withdrew from Auxesia Energy’s account into the coffers of the Judicial Service to avoid being held for contempt.
The other contenders to the amount are Auxesia Energy, Soleushing Ghana and Soleushing UK.


Soleushing UK cross-examines witness

Answering questions under cross-examination from counsel for Soleushing UK, Mr Dubik Yakubu Mahama, the witness,­ told the court that Auxesia Energy bought the LPFO from Earth Petroleum.
Asked why she was demanding the $391,250 she paid to Earth Petroleum, Mrs Odulu said it was because her company had made some cash advance to Earth Petroleum.
She said although the cheque was a cash cheque, the bank guarantee issued by the UT Bank mandated only Earth Petroleum to withdraw the amount.
Mrs Odulu said she gave the cheque to Elder Christopher Isibor, the owner of Earth Petroleum, in the presence of Mr Ben Antwi and the handler of the vessel that carted the LPFO.

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