Nigerian Court Convicts Nine Foreign Nationals For Oil Theft

shell-pay-out-55m-settle-nigeria-oil-spill-claimsJustice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos has sentenced nine foreign nationals to 20 years imprisonment for illegally dealing in crude oil.

The convicts were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a four-count charge in March alongside their vessel, MT Asteris. They include five Filipinos; Axel Joseph Gibo Jabone, Juanito Camireno Infantado, Suarin Fernado Alave, Gatila Jaypee Gadayan and Roland Jose Commendador.

The others are Bangladeshs; Md Zahirul Islam, Islam Shahinul, Islam Rafiqul and Shaikn Shibli Normany.

They were accused of conspiring among themselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 3,423.097metric tons of crude oil without lawful authority or appropriate license and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(19)(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 17 of the same Act.

EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo had informed the court that the accused had, without licence, loaded 3,423.097 metric tons of crude oil in MT Asteris’s cargo tanks marked 1C, 3C and 4C and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.

All the accused pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge when they were first arraigned in court.

But the trial judge while delivering his judgment, sentenced the accused to five years imprisonment on each count charge but with an option of fine of N5 million on each of the charges.

Justice Buba also said that the vessel used in the illegal oil deal should be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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Source: Daily Trust

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