Oil firm executive on trial over attempt to defraud CBN of $100 million


The Group Managing Director (GMD) of an oil marketing firm, Triumph Oil and Gas Madagascar Nigeria Limited, Ibrahim Olanrewaju Mahmud, was on Monday arraigned before an Abuja, FCT high court over an alleged attempt to defraud the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the tune of $100 million.

Although Mahmud was granted bail by the court, he was ordered to be remanded in prison custody after failing to fulfil the bail conditions.

Mahmud, who was arraigned before the FCT court on a six-count charge, was also accused of forging the signatures of CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, Special Assistant to the President Sabiu Yusuf and the GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari.

According to the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mahmud, who allegedly claimed to be a Deputy Governor in CBN, was said to have taken the said forged documents to the central bank to demand the payment of $100 million for the contract he claimed his firm was awarded by the CBN.

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The defendant was said to have also claimed that his firm was engaged to monitor and supervise major federal infrastructure projects, forfeited assets and government businesses, for which the CBN approved the payment of the $100 million.

Upon being confronted with Mahmud’s claims, the CBN was said to have referred the case to the EFCC for investigation, following which the investigating agency found that, not only was his firm not registered, the documents he paraded were of doubtful origin.

Mahmud, who pleaded not guilty and was granted bail by Justice Halilu Yusuf was ordered to be returned to the Kuje prison following his inability to meet bail conditions.

During the criminal trial on Monday, the prosecuting counsel, Benjamin Manji, said that he was ready to proceed to trial.

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However, Defence lawyer JK Kolawole pleaded for time to enable him to familiarise himself with the case, claiming he was new in the matter.

With the EFCC lawyer not opposing the defence lawyer’s application, Justice Yusuf adjourned further hearing until January 24 for definite trial, during which an official of the CBN is expected to testify for the prosecution.

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By Kalu Odinakachi
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