14 Oil Thieves Bag Six Years Imprisonment Each


The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on today jailed a gang of 12 men for six years each for dealing in 600,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, otherwise known as diesel, without lawful authority.

The convicts had been arraigned on four count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in October 2015.

They were charged alongside their vessel, MV PSV DEBY, and two companies – Phonic Marine Services Limited and Banquet Chambers Nigeria Limited.

The court, in a judgment by Justice Mohammed Idris, convicted them on all the four counts of conspiracy, dealing in deasel without lawful authority and forgery.

On the first and second counts, the trial judge sentenced each of the 12 convicts to a prison term of five years, while on counts three and four, the convicts were each sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

The judge, however, said the sentences would run concurrently.

The convicts are Christopher Okorie, John Mbah, Tammy Bami, Osi Prince, Chukwuji Festus, Kabiru Adeyemo, Ayannubi Moses, Sopuruchukwu Chukwudi, Obinna Ebu, Abdullahi Oyelade, Charles Ubey and Achia Vincent.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Ekene Iheanacho, had told the court that the convicts committed the offences between December 2014 and September 2015 in Lagos.

According to him, the convicts, with intent to defraud, “forged a document, to wit: Permit to Operate as an Oil Industry Service Company; Specialised Category; Permit No. DPR/OGISP/14/848714/N414 and purported the permit to have been issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources in order to favour Phonic Marine Services.”

The prosecutor said the convicts acted contrary to sections 1(2)(c), 1(17)(b) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

To prove his case, Iheanacho called six witnesses, including officials of the DPR, the Navy and the EFCC.

In his judgment today, Justice Idris said the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.

He ordered the vessel, MV PSV DEBY, and the cargo on board to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

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