A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft, Vanguard Newspaper reports.
Justice J.K Omotosho jailed the suspects after three years of prosecution by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, who had brought them (suspects) to court.
The convicts composed of two Pakistanis: Mohammed Ejaz, Nasser Khan; two Ukranians: Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi; one Ghanaian: Romeo Annang, and one Indonesian: Fredrik Fatin Omenu, and their Nigerian counterpart: David Otuohi, were charged to court on alleged illegal dealings on petroleum products in November, 21st, 2017.
They were arraigned alongside three other foreigners Victor Mikpayi (Beninois), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah( Ghanaians), and another Nigerian Victor Azebiri, who were discharged and acquitted by the court.
The convicts and other discharged were all arrested with a company: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE( a.k.a MT STAR), and charged to court on four counts bordering on conspiracy, dealing in petroleum products without a licence and tampering with oil pipelines.
Count one of the charge read: “that you Victor Azebiri, David Otuhohi, Mohammed Ejaz, Naseer Khan, Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi, Romeo Annang, Francis Ahorlu, Kwesi Attah, Victor Mikpayi, Frederik Fatin Omenu, Astral Shipping Corporation SA, MT TECNE a.k.a MT STAR (Vessel), Peter Ala (at large), David Ogoma, a.k.a Ambassador (at large) and others now at large, on or about the 20th and/or 25th day of April, 2017 at Escravos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: distribute, deal in, or with petroleum product without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and Punishable under Section 1(17) of the same Act”.
In his judgment, Justice Omotosho, found the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 11th defendants guilty of all the four- count charges and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment with an option of fine of N2,000,000, each, while the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th defendants were discharged and acquitted on the ground that they were not linked to the commission of the crime.
The sentences run concurrently from their date of arraignment, while the company involved in the crime: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA was wound up by the court and the vessel carrying the offensive crude oil: MT TECNE , a.k.a MT STAR( Vessel) was forfeited to the Federal Government.