Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced 11 foreigners, who were accused by the federal government of involvement in massive oil bunkering on Nigerian territorial waters to two years imprisonment.
The judge, however, gave the foreigners, who are specifically accused of dealing in 1,738.087 metric tons of petroleum product in Nigeria without lawful authority or licence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an option of N1 million fine each.
According to the court the sentence would run from last year March when they were apprehended by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the EFCC.
However, Justice Buba handed down a five year imprisonment without an option of fine, on three of the convicts who had earlier jumped bail and absconded from Nigeria.
The three, who are Russians, were convicted and sentenced in absentia by the judge, who also issued a warrant for their arrest, emphasising that their jail term would commence on the day they were re-arrested by law enforcement agencies.
The other 11 foreigners, including seven Philippines, three Ukrainian and one Japanese, were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a five-count charge of conspiracy, unlawful dealing in Petroleum product, and storing petroleum product without lawful authority.
The accused persons are: Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, Vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Teofilo Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy, Cadavis Gerarado, Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Allian Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Michael Beyan.
They were docked alongside three vessels: MT Anukt Emerald, Monjasa DMCC, and Glencore Energy UK Limited.
Justice Buba in his judgment also ordered the forfeiture of the petroleum products and the vessel into which they were loaded to the federal government.
The judge further directed that the two companies convicted alongside with the foreigners must pay N5m fine on each of the five counts levelled against them.
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