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Accused Faints in Dock as Oil and Gas Magnate, Wagbatsoma is Convicted of Fuel Subsidy Scam


A mild drama played out inside a Lagos High Court, Friday, as convicted petroleum subsidy scammer, Mrs Adaoha Ugo-Nnadi, fainted in the dock.
It was gathered that as the Judge began to read the sentence for her conviction, she suddenly collapsed in the dock forcing the proceedings to be rescheduled to Monday.
Mrs. Ugo-Nnadi, and partner, Walter Wagbatsoma, and their company, Ontario Oil and Gas, were convicted on an eight-count amended charge of fuel subsidy fraud before the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court.
Wagbatsoma, oil and gas magnate, was accused of benefitting massively from the petroleum subsidy scam.
The minimum sentence for the crime is seven years while the maximum is 20 years.
Wagbatsoma, the first convict, is currently under house arrest in the United Kingdom where he is accused of money laundering.
The trial Judge, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, however, discharged and acquitted the third defendant, Babafemi Fakuade, an employee of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
“The case of the prosecution against the first, second, and fourth defendants has been proved beyond reasonable doubt and they are convicted on each of the eight counts,” the Judge said.
As soon as Justice Okunnu returned after a 30-minute recess to read her sentencing, Mrs. Ugo-Nnadi, who was seated in the dock, collapsed in a heap leaving her relatives scrambling for water to resuscitate her.
The Judge directed that a medical doctor be summoned and announced she would read her final judgment on Monday.
The convict, crying and stretching on the floor inside the dock, was carried into her waiting Sports Utility Vehicle, and rushed to the hospital.
The defendants were first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in 2012 for fraud, forgery, and conspiracy amounting to N1.9bn in the fuel subsidy scheme.
They were later re-arraigned in 2013 after the trial Judge was elevated to the Court of Appeal, and then again in 2016 on an eight-count amended charge.
They had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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