The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday, arraigned a vessel, MV Ella and four individuals before the Federal High Court, Lagos over alleged petroleum theft .
The four defendants docked alongside the vessel are: Robert Agbenyo, Fulani Macaulay, Nwafor Joshua and William Kelvin.
They were arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan ,on four counts charge of conspiracy, illegal dealing on 100 metric tonnes of petroleum product without license and dealing in inferior product.
EFCC lawyers, U. U. Buhari ,and A. O. Muhammed, told the court that the defendants on December 27, 2019, conspired among themselves to commit the alleged offences. The offences according to the prosecution are contrary to Sections 3(6) ,1(17), 1(18) and 1 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Sections 1(17) and 1(18) of the same Act. The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked the court for trial date and also urged the court to remand all the defendants till the conclusion of the case.
However, defence teams, informed the court that they had filed their clients’ bail application and same have been served on the prosecution.
Justice Hassan, after taking arguments on the defendants’ bail applications, admitted each of them to bail in the sum of N2 million each with two sureties each in like sum. One of the sureties, according to the judge, must have a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction. The land title documents and other bail terms must be verified by the Court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).
Hassan however, released all the defendants to their counsel, upon undertaken that they will produce them in court at the next adjourned date. The judge attributed decision to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. The trial has been fixed for May 20, 2020.