By Amos Dunia, Persecond News
Abuja – The Supreme Court on Friday, dismissed the appeal filed by Yanaty Petrochemical Limited that sought to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division allowing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to continue investigation and prosecution of the company over an alleged N1.8billion petroleum subsidy fraud.
Crisis for Yanaty started when Elias Adeojo, Managing Director of Yanaty Petrochemical Limited, got approval by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA), to import 30,000 tons of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), under the Petroleum Support Scheme in the first quarter of 2011.
The company claimed that it imported 31, 256.992 metric tons in March, 2011 via MT Beaver and purportedly discharged the product at Lister Oil Jetty, Lagos, managed by Oando Marketing Plc.
As a result, Yanaty allegedly received N2, 731, 942, 103.73 for purportedly discharging 42, 773, 279million litres of PMS.
But investigation showed that Oando, being operator of Lister Jetty, disclosed that MT Beaver discharged only 10, 187.353 metric tons, of PMS for Yanaty, as against the 31, 256.992 it claimed to have discharged.
Based on the foregoing. Yanaty, allegedly received N1, 840, 768, 720 (One Billion, Eight Hundred and Forty Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty Naira) as unearned subsidy from the Federal Government.
However, in a bid to prevent further investigation into the alleged subsidy fraud, Yanaty approached and secured an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja to stop the EFCC from further investigation of the matter.
But dissatisfied, the EFCC approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal and asked it to set aside the decision of the Federal High Court and allow its investigation against the company to continue.
The Appeal Court upheld the EFCC’s appeal, and directed the anti-graft agency to continue with its investigation of the company.
Displeased with the Appeal Court’s decision, Yanaty moved to the Supreme Court and urged it to shield it from further investigation by the EFCC.
However, when the case came up on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, Counsel to Yanaty, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, in his argument, said that as long as Yanaty is concerned, investigations on the payment of Fuel Subsidies by the EFCC or any agency has been concluded.
Ayorinde also said that his client had been cleared through investigation by the Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy and therefore submitted that Yanaty cannot be reinvestigated on the same allegation.
He therefore prayed for an order restraining the EFCC, their servants, agents or representatives or any agency from carrying out any investigation, interrogation or inviting the plaintiff on anything related to fraud and money laundering.
But in his response, Counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to dismiss the appellant’s appeal and sustain the judgment of the Court of Appeal and also prayed the Court to order the appellant to submit itself to the EFCC to clear the allegations made against Yanaty Petrochemical Ltd.
Tahir further said that another fallacy by Yanaty is the baseless and repeated claims that it was given a clean bill of health by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments.
According to Tahir; “It is far from the truth and attempt to twist the report of the t Committee. Investigation into Yanaty Petrochemical Ltd by EFCC dates back to 2012 from the fallout of ‘Occupy’ Nigeria when EFCC received petitions against several oil marketing companies and importers for alleged over bloating of fuel subsidy.”
In its considered judgment, the panel of five justices led by Justice Inyang Okoro held that “the appeal is unmeritorious” and accordingly dismissed it.