EFCC arraigns Naval officer, 4 others for bunkering
By Innocent Anaba
A Naval officer, Mrs Bola Labinjo, whose service name is Lieutenant Commodore Ibe Lambert, and four men alongside a vessel, MT Handling Jumbo, were yesterday, arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for alleged bunkering.
Arraigned alongside the retired Naval officer are Jonathan Abuka, Ikemefuna Charles Agaba, Benjamin Gold and Hamzat Yakubu, while the vessel was represented by Nike Folarin, its Chief Financial Officer.
The defendants were arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor led-court, on charges of conspiracy and unlawful dealing in petroleum products.
EFCC alleged that the defendants, between August and September 2018, within the coast of Gabon conspired among themselves and dealt in Automated Gasoline Oil, AGO, popularly called diesel.
The EFCC prosecutor, Stephen Odiase, told the court that the defendants were arrested on August 13, 2018, by the men of Nigeria Navy, in coast of Guinea with the vessel loaded with the petroleum product without appropriate licence to do so.
He told the court that the offences committed by the defendants are contrary to sections 3(6) and 1 (19) (a) and (b) the Miscellaneous Offence Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004 punishable under sections 1(17) (b) of the same Act.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Their counsel to the first to fifth defendants urged the court to admit their clients to bail in the liberal terms.
In his ruling, presiding judge, Justice Obiozor, said he is inclined to grant the applications of the defendants following the averments in their applications, most especially since they have been in detention since August and September 2018.
Consequently, the judge admitted them to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum, each.
The judge also ordered that the surety must produce evidence of three years tax payments, means of livelihood, their statement of account, title of landed property and two passport photographs.
All the bail conditions are to be verified by the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar.