The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will on July 4 arraign before a Federal High Court, Abuja, Mr. Jide Omokore, an ally of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC has already filed four counts of money laundering against a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu; ex-Director of the NNPC, Abiye Memnere; ex-Managing Director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Victor Briggs; and oil mogul David Mbanefo.
Other two firms charged along with them are Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
The accused were scheduled to appear before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was present in court but all the accused were absent.
But Jacobs and some lawyers who had already been briefed by the accused were present in court.
The reason for the accused persons’ absence from court on Monday could not be ascertained as the trial was not mentioned in the open court.
The prosecuting and defence lawyers later collectively met with the judge in her chambers.
It was learnt that parties agreed with the judge to fix the arraignment for July 4 during the meeting in her chambers.
One of our correspondents also learnt on Monday that the prosecution might amend the charges before the date of arraignment.
Omokore, who is an ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited. His firm was one of the companies that allegedly received multi-billion dollar worth of public assets without due process from the Jonathan administration in 2011.
The company, which was created in 2010, was said to have not produced any oil when it was curiously awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks — OML 30 and 34 — for just over $50m each.
The deal, which was signed by Diezani, gave Atlantic Energy Limited a controlling 55 per cent stake in the oil block.
However, Shell, which owned the remaining 45 per cent stake, was said to have fetched $1.3bn for a single field after an open and competitive bidding process.
The company was also accused of lifting crude oil, but only remitting a fraction of its worth to the government.
For instance, in 2014, Atlantic Energy reportedly paid no money into the government’s coffers but lifted about 500,000 barrels of crude oil, valued at $54m.