25 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction and sentencing of two Ghanaians and seven Nigerians to 810 years imprisonment by an Asaba Federal High Court for conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
A statement issued on Monday by EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi, listed the names of the two Ghanaians as Nelson Seanehia and Teko Peter, while their Nigerian counterparts are Felix Ogogo, Augustine Elomofe, Yakubu Otun, Lucky Tonwei, Sunday Apoh, Segun Agbeyegbe and Felix Mogbeyiteren.
The trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, who sentenced each of the accused to 10 years imprisonment on each of the nine-count charge also ordered the forfeiture of their vessel, MT Troica which was used for the illegal business.
The EFCC had on June 29, 2010 arraigned the two Ghanaians and seven Nigerians for conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products. The accused persons were arrested aboard MT Troica on May 1 2010, at Forcados Bay.
Prior to their arraignment, operatives of the EFCC had carried out detailed investigations which revealed that the vessel, MT Troica was originally registered in Panama as LUCIA 1.
According to what was contained in the Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate, the vessel is still registered as LUCIA 1 and there were no documentation to show that LUCIA 1 was authorized to be changed to MT Troica.
Investigations also showed that the Ghanaians came into the country illegally and therefore, had no permission to sail in the Nigerian waters with a vessel that had no clearance, waybill or any document empowering it to transport petroleum products.
At the time of arrest, MT Troica owned by a certain Captain Harris, a Greek National, was already loaded with 83 metric tonnes of petroleum products.