A Federal High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State has convicted and sentenced Idris Abubakar and Ibrahim Hassan to three years imprisonment each without an option of fine for illegally dealing in petroleum products. The term starts from the date of their arrest.
The convicts were among eleven suspected illegal dealers of petroleum products arrested by men of the Joint Task Force, 4th Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin sometime in January, 2012 and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation and prosecution.
They were subsequently arraigned before Justice A. M. Liman, on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and illegal dealing in petroleum product.
After diligent prosecution, the court found the sixth and the eight accused persons, (Idris Abubakar and Ibrahim Hassan), guilty on count four which borders on uttering of forged waybill and convicted them accordingly. The judge said the convicts cannot be said to be ignorant that the waybill was forged since they are not new in the business.
The other accused persons – Mohammed Yusuf, Adamu Mansur, Sani Rabiu, Murtala Mohammed, Yahaya Usman, Yahaya Mohammed, Hamisu Kamba (deceased), Aminu Ibrahim, and Ibrahim Ahmed – were discharged and acquitted on counts one, two and three.
The deceased, Hamisu Kamba, was struck from the charge.
However, the prosecution made an oral consequential application pursuant to Sections 1(17) (a) and (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act; 25 and 30 of the EFCC Act; Order 3 Rules 6 and 9 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, that the conveying truck and its content be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The trial judge then ordered that the prosecution counsel to make a formal application subject to judicial enquiry since the items are still exhibits of the court.
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