The police in Lagos have brought 11 dismissed staff members of a ferry company on Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, before an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court for alleged N48 million theft.
The ex-workers, some of whom are sailors, were also accused of damaging boat engines worth N20m which belonged to the company, Texas Connection Limited.
The defendants include Peter Padei, 65; Rotimi Obagaiye, 47; Matthew Obatimehin, 67; Olori Babatunde, 34; Muritala Adewale, 35; Abiodun John, 40; and Egab Raymond, 33.
Others are Ebine Olorunju, 36; Uzoma Kenneth, 52; Adesemowo Adeyinka; and Emmanuel Ugbosanmi, 28.
The police said the suspects committed the alleged offences within two years while working with the firm.
During the period, they were accused of diverting litres of petrol meant for commercial operations to their personal use.
After failed attempts to recoup the money from the ex-workers, the firm reportedly petitioned the Force Intelligence Bureau at the Force Headquarters Annex, Obalende, leading to the arrest of the suspect.
A police prosecutor, Sergeant Friday Mameh, subsequently arraigned them on four counts bordering on stealing and damage of property at the Igbosere Chief Magistrate’s Court.
Mameh told the court that the offences contravened sections 280, 325, 328 and 339 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The charges read in part, “That you, Peter Padei, Rotimi Obagaiye, Matthew Obatimehin, Olori Babatunde, Muritala Adewale, Abiodun John, Egab Raymond, Ebine Olorunju, Adesemowo Adeyinka, Uzoma Kenneth, and Emmanuel Ugbosanmi and others at large, while staff members of Texas Connection Limited, Ikoyi, Lagos, between the years 2011 and 2012, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did steal several litres of Petroleum Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, valued at N48m, property of Texas Connection Limited.”
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and their counsel prayed that they be granted bail in liberal terms.
The presiding Chief Magistrate Mrs. O.O. Oshin, granted them bail in the sum of N250,000 with two sureties each in like sum.
Oshin held that the sureties must submit evidence of tax payments to the court for verification and adjourned the case till February 21, 2018.