The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday charged four individuals and a vessel with petroleum theft at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The defendants are: Robert Agbenyo, Fulani Macaulay, Nwafor Joshua, William Kelvin and a ship named MV Ella.
They were arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan on a four-count charge of conspiracy, illegal dealing on 100 metric tonnes of petroleum products without license and dealing in inferior products.
EFCC counsel U. U. Buhari and A. O. Muhammed told the judge that the defendants conspired and committed the offences on December 27, 2019.
The offences, according to the prosecution, contravened sections 3(6) ,1(17), 1(18) and 1 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004.
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution prayed the court to remand the defendants pending the conclusion of trial and applied for a trial date.
But the defence team opposed them, informing the judge that they had filed their clients’ bail applications and same had been served on the prosecution.
Justice Hassan upheld the defendants’ argument and granted each defendant N2million bail with two sureties in the like sum.
One of the sureties must be a landed property owner within the court’s jurisdiction. He released all the defendants to their counsel pending fulfillment of the bail terms.
The judge attributed his decision to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
He adjourned till May 20, for trial.