31 October 2015, Lagos – Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday convicted seven men to 84 years imprisonment for illegal and unlawful dealing in 1,459 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol. The court sentenced each of the convicts to a jail term of 12 years each commencing Friday after the Judge found them guilty of the five count charge preferred against them.
The convicts are; Adedamola Ogungbayi; Olaniran Olabode; Suraju Gasali; Moses Emmanuel; Wilson Bonsi; Okaraodi Uche and Onyeogo Happy. Apart from the jail term, Justice Abang also ordered the forfeiture of the vessel, ‘MT Good Success’, used by the convicts in stealing the said petroleum product, as well as the recovered petroleum product to the Federal Government.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the sums of N66.6m and $975,000 belonging to the convicts’ company, Hepa Global Energy Limited, domiciled with the First City Monument Bank to the Federal Government. To ensure a compliance to his judgement, Abang ordered the filing of an affidavit of compliance with the order within 21 days of the judgement.
The convicts, were arraigned alongside their vessel and company on August 28, 2014 on five counts alongside one Padoun Jacob, who was discharged and acquitted by the court. The judge, in setting Jacob free on all the five counts, described him as a desperate job seeker, who became a victim of circumstances.
The judge noted that the stolen petroleum product had been loaded before Jacob was employed by Hepa Global Energy Limited on February 7, 2014.
*Abdulwahab Abdulah – Vanguard