A file picture of the EFCC brand.
The Lagos Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured the conviction and sentencing of 5 unlawful oil thieves to at least one 12 months imprisonment every earlier than Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos
The convicts, who’re all Indian nationals, are: Visal Guleria, Pranjal Singh, Rahul Pathania , Akash Kumar and Sahil Sharma.
They have been arrested by officers of the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS Beecroft , Alaka, Lagos on January 31, 2020 aboard the vessel, MV Bount carrying 45.9 MT of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, with no related documentation and subsequently handed over to the Commission for additional investigation and prosecution.
The defendants have been, on June 25, 2020, arraigned individually on a three-count cost of offence bordering on unlawful dealing in petroleum merchandise.
One of the counts reads: “That you, M.V. Bount and Akash Kumar, on the 31st day of January 2020, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 45 metric tons of petroleum products without appropriate license and you thereby committed an offence contrary to 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.”
Another depend reads: “That you, M.V. Bount and Vishal Guleria , on the 31st day of January 2020, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, without license dealt in 45 metric tons of petroleum products and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation if Nigeria, 2004.”
They initially pleaded “not guilty “ to the charge preferred against them, thereby prompting their trial.
However, at the resumed sitting on December 9, 2020, the defendants all changed their pleas of “not guilty” to “guilty.”
In view of this, the prosecution counsel, U.U. Buhari, reviewed the information of the matter and urged the court docket to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Aikawa, after listening to the allocutus of the protection counsel, convicted and sentenced the defendants to one-year imprisonment on every depend, which is able to run concurrently from the date of their arrest.