Nigerian court jails six foreigners for seven years

November 23, 2020
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<!– Court Jails Six Foreigners Seven Years For Oil Theft In Port Harcourt –>

Court Jails Six Foreigners Seven Years For Oil Theft In Port Harcourt

Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft.

They were jailed on Monday, November 23, 2020, after three years of diligent prosecution by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The foreigners are two Pakistanis: Mohammed Ejaz, Nasser Khan; two Ukrainians: Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi; one Ghanaian: Romeo Annang, and one Indonesian: Fredrik Fatin Omenu.

Their Nigerian counterpart: David Otuohi bagged the same jail term as them.

The convicts were arraigned on Tuesday, 21 November 2017, alongside three other foreigners and another Nigerian for oil theft. The other three foreigners Victor Mikpayi (Beninois ), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah( Ghanaians), and Victor Azebiri( Nigerian) was discharged and acquitted by the court.

They were all docked alongside a company: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE( a.k.a MT STAR), on four count charges bordering on conspiracy, dealing in petroleum products without a license, and tampering with oil pipelines.

Count one of the charges read:

“that you Victor Azebiri, David Otuhohi, Mohammed Ejaz, Naseer Khan, Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi, Romeo Annang, Francis Ahorlu, Kwesi Attah, Victor Mikpayi, Frederik Fatin Omenu, Astral Shipping Corporation SA, MT TECNE a.k.a MT STAR (Vessel), Peter Ala (at large), David Ogoma, a.k.a Ambassador (at large) and others now at large, on or about the 20th and/or 25th day of April 2017 at Escravos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: distribute, deal in, or with petroleum product without appropriate license and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and Punishable under Section 1(17) of the same Act”.

Another count charge read “that you Victor Azebiri, David Otuhohi, Mohammed Ejaz, Naseer Khan, Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi, Romeo Annang, Francis Ahorlu, Kwesi Attah, Victor Mikpayi, Frederik Fatin Omenu, Astral Shipping Corporation SA, MT TECNE a.k.a MT STAR (Vessel), Peter Ala (At large), David Ogoma, a.k.a Ambassador (at large) and others now at large, on or about the 25th day of April 2017 at Escravos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did without appropriate authority or license distribute, deal in, or with petroleum product to wit:1905.836 cubic liters of crude oil conveyed in a vessel christened “MT TECNE” (VESSEL) and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and Punishable under Section 1(17) of the same Act”.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.

Their pleas prepared grounds for their trial by the EFCC, which for three years presented evidence and witnesses that testified against the defendants in court.

In his judgment on Monday, Justice Omotosho found the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 11th defendants guilty of all the four-count charges and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment with an option of fine of N2,000,000( Two Million Naira only) each, while the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th defendants were discharged and acquitted on the ground that ” they were not linked to the commission of the crime”. The sentences run concurrently from their date of arraignment.

The company involved in the crime: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA was wound up by the court while the vessel carrying the offensive crude oil: MT TECNE, a.k.a MT STAR( Vessel) was forfeited to the Federal Government.

The suspected oil thieves ran into troubled waters when their ship was intercepted by the NNS DELTA on 25 April 2017 at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Afremo ‘A’ Terminal, South East of Escravos in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, for illegal loading of petroleum products suspected to be crude oil. The crew members connived with Victor Azeberi (the 1st defendant); one Peter Ala and David Ogoma (AKA) Ambassador, who is now at large, to siphon about 1905.836 cubic liters of crude oil.

The ship had no clearance from relevant Nigerian maritime agencies to navigate in Nigerian waters and all the foreign crew on board the ship had no valid documents to enter Nigeria.

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