The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday arraigned 12 persons, two companies and a vessel, MV PSV DEBY, before Justice Muhammad Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a four-count charge of corruption.
The charges border on conspiracy, forgery and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
MV PSV DEBY and its crew members were intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft patrol boat on September 3 last year on suspicion of illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The arrested crew members are Christopher Okorie, John Mbah, Tammy Bami, Osi Prince, Chukwuji Festus, Kabiru Adeyemo, Ayannubi Moses, Sopuruchukwu Chukwudi, Obinna Ebu, Abdullahi Oyelade, Charles Ubey and Achia Vincent.
Further investigation revealed that the vessel was carrying thousands of litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, AGO.
According to the first charge, the accused had conspired to commit felony by “dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, law of the Federation of Nigeria 2014 and punishable under Section 1(17) (a) of the same act”.
The second charge says the accused had between August and September, 2015 in Lagos stored 600,000 litres of petroleum product in MV PSV DEBY, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(17) (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of the plea of the accused persons, the prosecution counsel, M.F. Owebe prayed the court for a trial date and to remand the accused persons in prison custody.
However, the defence counsel asked for a short adjournment for hearing of the bail application.
Justice Idris ordered that the accused be kept in Ikoyi prison and adjourned the case to January 26 for hearing of the bail application.