The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, arraigned four suspected illegal oil dealers and a vessel before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on 3-count charges bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The defendants, John Omokri; Jephta Titus, Henry Egumudon and Ayakpo Abonne were arrested alongside a vessel MT IBIM, by the Nigeria Navy and subsequently handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
One of the Counts read:
"MT IBIM, John Omokri, Jephta Titus, Henry Egumudon and Ayakpo Abonne on the 27th December, 2019 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit; dealing in 810. 573 meric tonnes of Petroleum product without appropriate license and you 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(17) of the same Act".
They pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsel, Oluwakemi Yemi Makinde, prayed the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendants be remanded in Nigeria Correctional Service, NCS.
However, counsel for the first and second defendants, E.O Ajah and 3rd, 4th and 5th defence counsels I.J Anabaraonye both prayed the court to grant them a short date for bail application.
Consequently, Justice Hassan adjourned the matter to July 10, 2020 for hearing on bail application and ordered the defendants to be remanded in National Correctional Service, NSC.
Troubles started for the defendants when they were arrested by the Navy with 810. 573 metric tonnes of petroleum products, without being licensed to deal in such products.
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