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Illegal oil dealer sentenced to 2 years in prison

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FOUND guilty of unlawfully dealing in petroleum products, Chigozie Oguadimma was on Tuesday sentenced to a two-year prison term by the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, disclosed this after it secured the conviction in a press statement signed by its head of media and publicity, Tony Orilade.

Oguadimma pleaded guilty to a one-count charge that read: “That you Chigozie Oguadimma, sometime in September, 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did distribute 20,000 liters of petroleum product (Automotive Gas Oil, diesel) without a licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 (1) of the Petroleum Act, CAP P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, and punishable under Section 4 (6) of the same Act.”

“Both the prosecution counsel, Samuel Chime, and the defence counsel, Eric Amadi, agreed on the convict’s guilty plea,” Orilade said.

“In view of Oguadimma’s plea of guilt, Chime applied that he be convicted accordingly. However, Amadi, the defence counsel, sued for a light sentence.”

Justice E.A. Obile sentenced Oguadimma to two years imprisonment with an option of paying a fine of N100,000.

He also ordered that 20,000 litres of diesel confiscated from the defendant should be auctioned and the proceeds thereafter deposited into the federal government’s Consolidated Revenue Account.

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“Oguadimma’s journey to prison started when men of the Nigerian Army Anti-bunkering Operation Team intercepted him and a Mack truck with registration number: ZAR-997-ZC, loaded with 20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined diesel along Obigbo, Aba Road, Rivers State, sometime in September 2018,” the EFCC statement further stated.

He was then handed over to the law enforcement agency to be investigated and prosecuted. He had claimed the petroleum products originated from an authorised depot and provided a waybill to substantiate this, but investigations showed “neither the diesel nor the waybill emanated from the petroleum product depot he claimed”.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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