Convicted fuel subsidy fraudsters Mrs. Ada Ugo-Ngadi, Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited and Walter Wagbatsoma, the company’s chairman, were today sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos High Court for defrauding the Federal Government of N754 million in oil subsidy claims.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned the convicts before the court on August 1, 2013 alongside Mr. Babafemi Fakuade, an official of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on charges of forgery, conspiracy and altering of document to commit fuel subsidy fraud. The judge however, found Fakuade not guilty and acquitted him on the charges.
The court had in its ruling of January 13 found the duo of Wagbatsoma and Ugo – Ngadi guilty of all charges and convicted them but could not pass sentence on them due to the dramatic occurrence when one of the convicts (Ugo- Ngadi) collapsed in court and was subsequently hospitalized.
Justice Okunnu in her judgment today sentenced Wagbatsoma and Ugo-Ngadi to a minimum of ten years in prison for the six count charge proffered against them by the EFCC.
“For each of the counts of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretences the defendants are sentenced to ten years in prison.
“For the count of conspiracy to commit forgery, the defendants are sentenced to seven years in prison
“For the of offence of forgery, the defendants are sentenced to eight years in prison,” Okunnu said.
The Judge noted that the sentence passed was a total of 69 years for each of the convicts but the sentence was to run concurrently.
In the course of pronouncing judgment on Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Justice Okunnu gave an order of restitution for Ontario Oil and Gas Limited to return N754million to the Federal Government.
The conviction and sentencing is the first of the many cases of oil subsidy fraud currently under prosecution in various courts.
As the proceeding ended, prison warders, lawyers of the convicts and their family members molested the cameraman of EFCC for taking pictures of the convicts.