Court jails oil thieves, orders company to pay N100m fine

The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered that a vessel, MV Shirley, be forfeited to the Federal Government for being used for illegal conveyance of 145,000 litres of petroleum products.

MV Shirley was convicted on a four counts charges alongside a firm, Sagwe International Limited, and one Abednego Ogede, who was said to be at large.

In a judgment delivered on Wednesday by Justice Rilwan Aikawa, the court said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was able to prove the charges against the convicts beyond reasonable doubts.

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The judge said MV Shirley along with the 145,000 litres of petroleum product found on it should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

He awarded a fine of N100m against Sagwe International Limited and issued an order for the arrest of the fleeing Ogede.

The judge ordered the forfeiture of the N10m bail bond deposited by Ogede’s surety, saying the surety should be remanded in the prison custody pending the forfeiture of the N10m.

In the four counts charges against the convicts, the EFCC told the court that they dealt in 145,000 litres of petroleum product without lawful authority or appropriate licence.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, said the convicts committed the offence on or about April 19, 2017.

He said they acted contrary to Section 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and were liable to be punished under Section 17 of the same Act.

The prosecutor said the convicts also violated Section 4 of the Petroleum Act Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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