Port Harcourt — The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has remanded an Indian man named Rahul Pathania, and a vessel, MV Bount, to prison custody, on three-count charges bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The suspect was arrested alongside the vessel by the Nigerian Navy and subsequently handed over to to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for prosecution.
EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, in a statement disclosed that the suspect was caught with 45metric tons of petroleum product without appropriate licence.
One of the count read: “That you, M.V.Bount and Rahul Pathania, on the 31st day of January 2020, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 45 metric tons of petroleum product without appropriate licence and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and punishable under Section 1(7) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the first count of conspiracy but not guilty to the others.
In view of his plea, Counsel to EFCC, Usman Buhari, prayed the court for a date to commence trial and also asked that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services, NCS.
The presiding judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, adjourned the matter to October 7, 2020 for commencement of trial and also ordered the defendant to be remanded in the custody of NCS.