Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of an Abuja Federal High Court has struck out one of the nine counts of $1.6bn crude oil fraud leveled against an ally of former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Jide Omokore, and five others.
The judge struck out the eighth-count after hearing an application filed by Diezani, claiming that she was indicted in the particular count, but was not availed the opportunity to defend herself.
Accused in the case include, Omokore, his two companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.
Other defendants are a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Victor Briggs; a former Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Abiye Membere; and a former Manager, Planning and Commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo and the former Petroleum Minister, Alison-Madueke.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had instituted nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government, against Omokore and six others.
EFCC accused Allison-Madueke alongside Biggs, Membere and Mbanefo, in count eight of aiding Omokore to launder money.