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EFCC: Oil Thieves, Internet Fraudsters Bag Jail Terms

TWO OIL THIEVES BAG FIVE YEARS IN PORT HARCOURT
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s zonal office, on Thursday , July 23 2020 secured the conviction and sentence of Oghenovo Emmanuel and Abdullahi Hassan Bika to fve years imprisonment before Justice M. L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court, siting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The convicts were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on one-count seperate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products, contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act, CAP P17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria of (Revised Edition) 2004, and punishable under Section 1 (17 ) (b) of the same Act.

They however pleaded “guilty” to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

One of the count charge read: “That you Oghenovo Emmanuel, on or about 29th day of November, 2019 around Sambreino River, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did without lawful authority and appropriate license deal in Petroleum Product and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act, CAP P17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004, and punishable under Section 1 (17 ) (b) of the same Act.

Another count read: That you Abdullahi Hassan Bika on or about 29th day day of November, 2019 around Sambreino River, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did without lawful authority and appropriate license deal in Petroleum Product and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous offences Act, CAP P17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004, and punishable under Section 1 (17 ) (b) of the same Act.

While reviewing facts of the case, prosecution counsel, M .T Iko tendered some documents and prayed the court to accept same in evidence , n convicting the defendants accordingly. The documents included: a Hand Over note from Nigeria Navy, NNS Pathfinder, a letter of response from the Department of Petroleum Ressources (DPR), Statement of the defendants and a letter of response from National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). They were accepted by the court as evidence and marked as exhibits A, B,C and D respectively.

In view of the exhibits tendered, prosecuting counsel, M . T Iko urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged

However, counsel to both defendants, R. U. Oyiwona, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, stressing that the defendants were bread winners of their families.

Justice Abubakar convicted and sentenced the defendants to five years imprisonment each, with an option of fine of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (150,000).

Emmanuel and Bika’s journey to the prison started when the Commission received a letter of petition from Nigerian Navy, Naval base, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for alleged illegal dealing in petroleum products, sometimes in January 9, 2020.

Investigation showed that the defendants were arrested in December 1, 2019, by the Nigerian Navy during their anti-bunkering operations in Sambreiro River, in Rivers State.

Further investigation showed that about eight defendants were arrested alongside a Motor Tanker, Lady Ochy, loaded with unspecified quantity of illegally refined petrolatum products, suspeced to be Crude Oil.

They were handed over to EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.

Dele Oyewale
Head, Media & Publicity
23/07/2020.
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EFCC PRESS RELEASE

Oil Thief Jailed, Nine Others Docked in Lagos

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 sentenced an oil thief, Ekando Meschack, to one year imprisonment and ordered the forfeiture of a vessel, MV Lady Sharon, involved in the crime to the Federal government.
The convict  and the vessel  were arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) alongside a company, Jefi Jets Aviation Ltd (formerly Swat Links Limited) on three-count charges, bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
One of the charges read: “That you, MV Lady Sharon, Jefi Jets Aviation Ltd (formerly Swat Links Limited), Ekando Meschack and Muyiwa Lukman Ojoye (now at large) on the 9th day of January, 2020 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 120 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO/diesel) without proper license and 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(7) of the same Act.”
He pleaded guilty to the charges, upon which prosecution counsel, I.A. Mohammed, reviewed the facts of the case and stated that the defendant was arrested and handed over to the EFCC by officers of the Nigerian Navy of NNS Ose on January 9, 2020.
Though the vessel was registered with Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), its license and the company’s permit to deal in petroleum products, he said, expired in April 2018.
The 120 metric tonnes of diesel discovered aboard the vessel, he further disclosed, was sourced from illicit oil bunkering.
Justice Hassan found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to one year imprisonment on each of the three counts, which run concurrently.
In a similar development, the Lagos office of the Commission on the same day, arraigned nine suspected oil thieves, alongside a vessel, MV African Support 3, before Justice O.A. Faji of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, on three-count amended charges bordering on illegal oil trade.
The suspects, Adeniji Nathaniel( the captain), Jagun Michael;  Omiyenye Roman;  Stephen Imasua;  Adeosun Emmanule Dimeji;  Francis Williams;  Saturday Atube,  Uduak Monday Umoh and Egbayelo Tunde were arrested aboard the vessel by the Nigeria Navy and handed over  to the Commission for investigation and prosecution.
One of the charges read: “That you, MV African Support 3, Adeniji Nathaniel, Jagun Michael, Omiyenye Roman, Stephen Imasua, Adeosun Emmanule Dimeji, Francis Williams, Saturday Atube, Uduak Monday Umoh and Egbayelo Tunde, on the 13th of February, 2020 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 245, 40 metric tonnes of petroleum products without appropriate licence and you hereby 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(7) of the same Act.”
They pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which prosecution counsel, A. O. Mohammed, asked the court for a trial date, while defence counsel, M.C. Ike, informed the court of pending bail applications for the defendants.
Justice Faji granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10million each, with two sureties in like sum. The sureties for the second to the 10th defendants, he said, must have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.
He further directed that the prosecution and the court registrar should engage the services of a valuer to determine the worth of the vessel, stating that the bond for the vessel’s value and the petroleum product on board, must be paid into a Nigerian bank, nominated by the prosecution.
He ordered the defendants to be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Service, (NCS), Ikoyi, and adjourned the case till October 9, 10 and 11, 2020 for commencement of trial.

Dele Oyewale,
Head, Media & Publicity
23/07/2020
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Internet Fraudster Bags Two Years Imprisonment.
Justice Demi-Ajayi of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin City,  Edo State has  convicted and sentenced  Osawaru Samson to two years imprisonment,  with an option of fine  of N1,000,000( One Million Naira only).

Samson pleaded guilty to the charges  when they  were read to him.

In view of his plea, prosecution counsel,  M. Funkeye prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly. However, defence counsel,  Paul Ejiga prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant was a first -time offender and has promised never to return to crime.

Justice Demi-Ajayi sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment or a fine of One Million Naira. The convict is also to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour forthwith.

Dele Oyewale
Head,  Media & Publicity
23/07/2020.