July 13, 2024

Unethical gifts: Court sentences Ex-NNPC, NPDC Chiefs to 2-yr jail term in Omokore’s $1.6bn money laundering trial


Oredola Adeola

Justice Nnamdi Digmba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has sentenced the duo of Victor Briggs and Abiye Membere, both former top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to two years imprisonment after he found them guilty for “Unethically collecting car gifts as public officials,” an offense which contravenes Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.

This was contained in a statement released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) obtained by EnergyDay on Wednesday.

EnergyDay gathered that Abiye Membere ex-Group Executive, Exploration & Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), while Victor Briggs, was a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC).

According to the statement, the two NNPC staff were convicted on Tuesday, February 7 but the court reserved sentencing till today, February 8, 2023.

On Wednesday during the resumed hearing on the case, the convicts through their counsel, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, while O.A Atolagbe who held the brief of lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, urged the court to impose a custodial sentence on the defendants.

Justice Dimgba however sentenced the convicts to two years imprisonment with an option of Two Million Naira fine each, to be paid immediately to the Federal government.

The convicts were prosecuted by the EFCC for conspiracy in inducing the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC) a subsidiary of the NNPC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Olajide Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited; and receiving car gifts from Omokore and his companies.

One of the charge reads: “That you, OLAJIDE JONES OMOKORE, ATLANTIC ENERGY BRASS DEVELOPMENT LTD, ATLANTIC ENERGY DRILLING CONCEPT LTD, and KOLAWOLE AKANNI ALUKO (now at large) between May 2013 and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court obtained by false pretense and with intent to defraud, 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of $823,75,189.95 (Eight Hundred and Twenty Three Million, Seventy-Five Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty-Nine US Dollars and Ninety-Five Cents) from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The charge said, “The convict under a false pretence said that he had funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited in petroleum operation for the OML 60,61, 62 and 63 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.