The police in Oyo State have dragged seven persons that allegedly stole 72 metric tonnes of cooking gas that worth over N11.5million from Gasland Nigeria Limited, Oluyole Outlet, Ibadan, before an Oyo State Chief Magistrate Court.
The suspects comprised two security guards in the outlet: Adio Gbadebo, 48, and Oluwadamilare Oguntoyinbo, 29. A member of staff of the company, Akintola Oluwole, 35, was also among the suspects. One Ramoni Waheed Olawale, 28, was said to have observed his industrial training in the company.
The remaining three persons, Ewenla Rotimi, 33, Olaniyan Olatubosun, 28 and Olaleye Bolaji, 30, were said to be the suspected buyers of the stolen Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) between 2017 and 2019.
As gathered, the suspects were arrested after one of them confessed to a supervisor in the company on how they had been stealing cooking gas from the outlet at Oluyole, Ibadan, after official working hours. The person that revealed the secrets was said to have been transferred to another outlet, and probably felt that the group should be give him a share in the money they were making from the illegal process.
The group members were said to have said he could no longer partake in the proceeds because he has been transferred to another outlet, which probably informed his decision to let the cat out of the bag. The former intern in the company was accused of coming back at night to participate in the stealing, though he had completed his internship.
Owners of the company reportedly thought the tanks in the outlet were leaking when shortages were discovered after selling truck-loads of cooking gas to people. Various experts from different places, including Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), were invited to assess the gas tanks at the outlet, but no leakage was found.
The seven suspects were arraigned before a chief magistrate court presided over by Mrs. Olubisi Ogunkanmi at Iyaganku, Ibadan on Friday.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs. Ogunkanmi, however, admitted each of the suspects to bail in the sum of N1million and two sureties with certain conditions the surties must fulfil. She adjourned the case to October 28, 2018 for mention.
The prosecuting police officer, Mrs. Bola Olorukooba, had preferred a three-count charge against the suspects. The first count stated that the seven accused persons conspired with one another to steal anf receive the alleged stolen property and thereby committed an offence.
The second count stated that Akintola Oluwole, Ramoni Olawale, Adio Gbadebo and Oluwadamilare Oguntoyinbo on the same fate and place, “being staff of the aforementioned company did steal Liquefied Cooking Gas valued N11,530.00, property of one Oguntodu Ezekiel of Gasland Nigeria Limited.”
The third count, however, the three among the suspects that allegedly bought the stolen commodity valued at N11,530.00 from Ramoni Olawale, Akintola Oluwole, and Oluwadamilare Oguntoyinbo.
Each of the suspects, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them by the police.
The three counsel that stood for the suspects applied for their bail in liberal terms, saying the accused had spent up to two weeks in police custody before they were arraigned.