EFCC arraigns seven for illegal oil deal

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday arraigned a ship, MT Vine, and its six-man crew for allegedly dealing in 1,080 metric tonnes of Automated Gas Oil without lawful authority.

The crew members, who were arraigned alongside the vessel, are Okpene Peter, Lateef Akin, Sarumi Evan, Adams Akeem, Obodo Cosmos and Onipede Kayode.

They were arraigned on four counts before Justice Rilwan Aikawa.

The EFCC, in the charges, accused them of conspiring among themselves to lift and distribute 1,080 metric tonnes of AGO without the licence to do so.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the defendants committed the offence on June 12, 2017, adding that they acted contrary to and were liable to be punished under sections 17 and 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Oyedepo said the defendants violated Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

When the charges were read to them, however, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

Justice Aikawa adjourned till October 6 to rule on their bail application, while he ordered that they should be remanded in the custody of the EFCC in the meantime.

The trial of the defendants, which started immediately after their arraignment, was adjourned till the same date.

Meanwhile, another vessel, MV Shirley, was also arraigned alongside its owner, Sagwe International Limited, and one Abednego Ogede for allegedly dealing in 145,000 litres of petroleum products without lawful authority.

MV Shirley and the others were arraigned on four counts also before Justice Aikawa.

Oyedepo said the defendants committed the offence on April 19, 2017, adding that they violated the same laws as the first set of accused persons.

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