9 docked over illegal petroleum business

Posted by News Express | 18 December 2014 | 3,661 times

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday at a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, arraigned nine persons for offences bordering on illegally dealing in petroleum products. 

Clement Oguntuwase, Joseph Obie, Ifeoluwa Albert, Adams Amzat Akokhia, Isaac Ndidi Chima, Rafiu Momodu, Rasaq Mahmud, Godwin George, and Thomas Daniel were arraigned before Justice Lambo Akanbi on a two-count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.

“The accused persons were intercepted aboard MB SKYE by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield on November 14, 2014 in Brass waters, close to Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Bayelsa State while transferring suspected crude oil from two vessels, MT CERGEN-D and MT ELIMINA, which were under investigation for alleged oil theft,” said EFCC Head of Media, Wilson Uwujiaren.

One of the counts read; “that you Clement Oguntuwase, Joseph Obie, Ifeoluwa Albert, Adams Amzat Akokhia, Isaac Ndidi Chima, Rafiu Momodu, Rasaq Mahmud, Godwin  George, Thomas Daniel and a vessel, MB Skye and others now at large on or about the 13th and 14th November, 2014 at Brass within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did without appropriate licence deal in Petroleum Products to wit: about 388.53 Metric tonnes of Crude Oil siphoned from two vessels namely; MT CERGEN-D and MT ELIMINA which you conveyed in MB SKYE and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(17) (a) and (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Law of the Federation) Act 2007 and punishable under the same Act.”

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. In view of their plea, the prosecuting counsel A.I Arogha asked for a date for the commencement of trial. But the defence counsel, A.A Adetunji orally presented a bail application and urged the court to grant the accused persons bail.

Justice Akanbi granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N500,000 each and a surety in like sum, who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court.

The matter was adjourned till March 11, 2015 for commencement of trial.

In a related development, Justice E. S. Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, yesterday adjourned ruling on the extradition proceedings brought by the office of Attorney General of the Federation against former managing director of Nigeria Security Minting and Printing Company (NSMPC), Ehidiamhem Okoyomon, to January 23, 2015.

Okoyomon is wanted in the United Kingdom over his alleged role in the bribery scandal involving officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the NSMPC and Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.

In a bid to stall his extradition to the UK for trial over the alleged bribe scam, Okoyomon had in October, through his counsel, Alex Iziyon, SAN, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the application to extradite him.

Iziyon had argued that the 1931 treaty which the prosecution counsel M. S. Hassan relied upon had been repealed by Decree No 87 of 1966, and was not a law.

Hassan had however countered his argument explaining that the 1931 treaty became applicable to Nigeria in 1935 and was never repealed by any enactment, stressing that schedule 2 under extradition law provides that “the law shall apply to all Commonwealth nations”.

It would be recalled that Justice Chukwu after listening to the argument of both counsel had on October 7, 2014 fixed December 1, 2014 for ruling on the matter.

However, Justice Chukwu adjourned his ruling on that day (December 1, 2014) to December 17, 2014 for reasons that he had not finished writing the ruling.

At the resumed sitting today, the judge asked both the prosecuting and defence counsel to come back on January 23, 2015 as the ruling was almost ready.

Source: News Express

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