EFCC Arraigns Vessel, 12 Crew Members , Over Illegal Oil Bunkering
Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today, arraigned a vessel, MT Mother Comfort, its owner, Azamosa Limited and it’s 12 crew members before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for unlawful and illegal dealing in 240 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) popularly called diesel.
Those arraigned alongside the vessel and its owner are: Ojajuni Adebowale: Dele Anigboro Napoleon; Aderemi Mutiu Akinade; Stephen Akorede Ogunboye; Ekenne Okendu; Agbanoma John; Azu Okengwu; Alum Julius; Awah Smart Ucheojo; Femi Adeniyi James; Odenike Rasaq and Neele Stanley Kerebari.
All the defendants were arraigned before Justice Muslim Sule Hassan on a three count charges bordering on conspiracy, illegal and unlawful dealing in petroleum products and storing of the product without appropriate license.
Mr. Muhammad Idris, counsel to the EFCC, while arraigning the defendants today, informed the court that all the defendants on July 20, 2020, conspired among themselves, to commit the alleged offences.
Idris told the court that the offences committed by the defendants contravened sections Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(17) of the same Act. And to Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap. P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Upon the reading of the charges to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
Following their plea of not guilty, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date, while he also urged the court to remand the defendants in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charges against them.
But the defendants, through their respective counsel, asked the court to admit them to bail in the most liberal terms.
Justice Hassan, in a bench ruling, admitted each of the defendants to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety.
The judge ordered that the surety must be a Grade Level 16 officereither in Federal or Lagos State’s establishment, or a landed property owner within the court jurisdiction.
•Justice Hassan, while ordering that all the defendants be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the perfection of the bail conditions, adjourned the matter till February 14, 2021, for the commencement of defendants’ trial