L.N. Oweibo, a judge of Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, July 9, 2020, convicted and sentenced Captain Peter Okomi to one-year imprisonment for illegally dealing in petroleum products.
Also convicted and sentenced was his firm Moyitok Nigeria Ltd and a vessel, M.V. Agbeke.
The convicts were prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a three-count charge following their arrest by the Nigerian Navy.
They pleaded guilty.
One of the charges read: “M.V. Agbeke, Moyitok Nigeria Ltd, and Peter Okomi, on the 21st day of January, 2020, in Lagos, within without appropriate license, dealt in 100 metric tonnes of Automative Gas Oil (AGO) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1 (17) of the same Act.”
Following their pleas, prosecution counsel Mohammed Idris prayed the court to convict and sentence Okomi accordingly.
He prayed the court to order the forfeiture of the vessel and the 100 metric tonnes of Automative Gas Oil (AGO, diesel) it conveyed to the Federal government of Nigeria, being proceeds of unlawful activity.
Justice Oweibo upheld his prayer and sentenced Okomi to one-year imprisonment on each of the three counts, which run concurrently.
He also ordered the forfeiture of the vessel, MV Agbeke, and the 100 metric tonnes of diesel recovered from it to the Federal government of Nigeria.
The judge directed the EFCC to collaborate with relevant government or non- governmental agency to sell the vessel and the petroleum product onboard the vessel within a reasonable time and remit the proceeds into Consolidated Revenue Funds.
In a similar development, the Lagos Office of the Commission Thursday arraigned 10 suspected illegal oil dealers alongside a vessel, MV CX Fleet 1, before Justice Oweibo.
They are standing trial on a three-count charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products to the tune of 100 metric tonnes of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO.
The defendants include Christopher Ewgeregor; Emeka Chidiebere; Erekedomene Lawrence; Okorie Collins Chukwuma; Julius Makingbene and Ededeni Bassey Okon.
Others are: James Joshua; Kingsley Tamumobelema Ibiabuo, Iyobasogie Victor, and Ajenu Michael.
They were arrested alongside the vessel by the Nigeria Navy and handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
According to the charge, they were arrested on February 3, 2020, in Lagos for conspiring to deal in “100 metric tonnes of Automative Gas Oil (AGO), without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under Section 1(7) of the same Act”
Each defendant pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting counsel Mohammed Idris prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS.
But defence counsel Malizu Iwudoh and Earnest Usiwoma Orofa prayed the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal terms.
Justice Oweibo granted them bail in the sum of N2 million each among other terms.
He gave them 10 days to perfect their bail conditions, failure of which they shall remain in NCS custody.
He adjourned till October 8, 2020, for the continuation of the trial.
Source: The Nation