EFCC Arraigns Three Russians, Eight Filipinos, Others For Illegal Oil Bunkering

EFCC-operatives-at-work

By Tosin Omoniyi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, arraigned 14 foreigners alleged to be involved in illegal oil bunkering before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.

Three other companies were also arraigned by the EFCC in connection with the allegations

The suspects include three Russians-Pakhladzhian Artur, Kretov Andrey, Shkundich Vasily);  three Ukrainians- Laguta Oleksiy, Chepikov Oleksandr, Bilous Vitalli); eight  Filipinos- Cadavis Gerardo, Baduria Benjamin, Regidor Hilarion, Naranjo Allan Antero,Patero Christian, Alkyde Joel, Caratiquit Micheal Bryan, Ciudad Prudencio, Cabanal Anecito, Cabuquin Andres, Podutan Eduardo) and one Georgian – Agbarian Sergoand.

 The firms arraigned were MT Anuket Emerald, Monjasa DMCC, and Glencore Energy UK Limited.

The EFCC alleged that the Nigerian Navy ship, Bee croft, intercepted MT Anuket during a routine patrol on the nation’s waters on March 8, 2015 on suspicion of illegally conveying 1,738.087 metric tonnes of petroleum products before handing over the vessel and its crew to the EFCC.

Investigation by the EFCC revealed that the registered owner of the vessel is Combe Shipping Limited and the beneficiary  is Alliance Tankers Incorporated.

Investigators claim and that the ship flies a Panama Flag with IMO number 9393644. Furthermore, it was discovered that Monjasa DMCC of Dubai, UAE, are the chatterers of the vessel.

The accused were said to have contravened Section 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, punishable under Section 17 of the same Act.

When the charges were read to the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, prayed the court to fix a date for trial and to remand the accused persons in prison custody.

However, counsel to the accused persons, Babajide Koku, SAN, asked the court to grant his clients bail.

Presiding judge, Ibrahim Buba, subsequently granted the accused bail in the sum of N50m each and one surety in like sum who must be a Nigerian. The judge, however, said that a single surety who is worth the entire bail bond can stand surety for all the accused persons.






     

     

    But the suggestion by the defence counsel to allow the accused persons go into custody in their respective embassies was rejected  by the court.

    The defence counsel told the court that since the accused persons were not Nigerians, it would be difficult to find a surety, but urged the court to accept bank guarantee of the total sum. He further requested the court to remand the accused persons in EFCC custody pending the perfection of their bail condition.

    While Justice Buba granted the prayer of the defence counsel to accept a bank guarantee of N750m as bail bond for the accused persons, he ordered the accused persons to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.

    The case was adjourned to June 17, 18 and 19, 2015 for commencement of trial.

     

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