By Innocent Anaba
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arraigned a vessel, MT Vine and six suspected oil thieves, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, for stealing 1,080 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil, AGO, popularly called diesel.
Those arraigned alongside the vessel are: Okpene Peter, Lateef Akin, Sarumi Evans, Obodo Cosmos and Onipede Kayode.
However, the fifth suspect, Adams Akeem, was arraigned in absentia.
The EFCC in the four- count charge against the accused persons, alleged that they, on June 12, 2017, conspired among themselves to deal in petroleum products without lawful authority.
They were also alleged to have unlawfully stored 1080 metric tons of AGO in MT Vine’s cargo tank and equally distributed same.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, are contrary to sections 19(6), 17 and 4 of the Petroleum Act. Cap. P. Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 17 of the same Act.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty, after the charges were read to them.
However, the trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, ordered the accused persons be remanded in EFCC’s custody till October 6, when he will rule on their bail applications.
Following the arraignment of the accused persons, the prosecutor, Oyedepo informed the court that he intended to open his matter in line with section 300 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA.