14 foreigners know fate on oil bunkering charges Feb 8

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed February 8, 2016 for judgment in the case of 14 foreigners, who allegedly dealt in petroleum products in Nigeria without lawful authorization.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), while arraigning the foreigners in June last, year identified them as citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The commission gave their names as Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy and Cadavis Gerarado.

Other are Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Beyan.

The accused were said to have been handed over to the EFCC by the Nigeria Navy, which on March 27, 2015 intercepted them with their vessel, MT Anukpet Emerald, loaded with crude oil estimated at 1,738.087 metric tons.

The foreigners were equally charged with the offence of dealing in 1,500 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil as well as 3,035 metric tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil without lawful authority.

The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the foreigners violated Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

According to him, the offence was equally contrary to Section 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federal of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act.

However, the accused pleaded not guilty to the four counts preferred against them and were subsequently granted N50m bail each.

Their trial, which commenced in June came to a close on Monday with the prosecution and the defence counsel adopting their final written addressed and canvassing summary arguments.

Justice Buba fixed February 8 to deliver judgment. 

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