Court jail oil bunkerers six years

Court jail oil bunkerers six years

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria has jailed 12 crew members of a Vessel for six years for dealing in 600,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, otherwise known as diesel, without lawful authority.

The convicts were arraigned before the court on four counts 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 the entire four counts of conspiracy, dealing in deasel without lawful authority and forgery.

On the first and second counts, he 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, told the court that the convicts committed the offences between December 2014 and September 2015 in Lagos.

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/N4146, and purported the permit to have been issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources in order to favour Phonic Marine Services.”

The offences alleged to have been committed by the convicts are 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.

In his judgment, Justice Idris said the prosecution 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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