Sunday, 18 July 2021

Man Arrested With Illegal Refined Petroleum Vessel Bags Four Years

Justice E.I. Mark of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt,  Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced Henry Frimenjibo to four years imprisonment for conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum product without appropriate licence. 

The convict was jailed after pleading guilty to two- count charges  bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products without authority and appropriate licence,  upon his arraignment by the  Port Harcourt' s Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC

One of the count charge read: 

"That you Henry Frimenjibo, Brown Tekpa Milo (still at large), Godwin Ogbonna (Still at large) and MV Omiete VI on or about the 14th day of October, 2016 around Onne Waters in Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority and appropriate licence did conspire among yourself to commit felony to wit: illegal dealing in One Hundred Thousand litres (100,000) of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (17) (a) of Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 of the Revised Edition, (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) and punishable under Section 1 (17) (b) of the same Act"

In view of the plea of the defendant,  prosecution counsel,  Endeba Abiyesuku,   prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.  She also prayed that the vessel, MV Omiete VI be forfeited to the Federal Govenment.    Defence counsel, D.F. Syer aligned himself with the prayer of the prosecution. 

Justice Mark convicted and sentenced Frimenjibo  to two years imprisonment on each count with an option of fine of Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N750,000.00) on each of the two counts which is to run concurrently.

The Judge also ordered that  the cumulative quantity of AGO  on on board the vessel, MV Omiete VI,  estimated to be One Hundred Thousand (100,000) litres,   be sold by the Deputy Chief registrar of the Court,   in conjunction with the Secretary of the EFCC or any officer so authorised and the proceeds paid into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the government.  The vessel was not released to the owner.   The Judge ruled that "Interested parties should write and file an application formally to the court concerning the vessel".  

The Court also ordered that the convict be remanded at the Port Harcourt’s correctional centre pending the payment of the fine.

Frimenjibi’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when  he was handed over to the EFCC by the  Nigerian Navy Ship, (NNS) Pathfinder,   Naval Base, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt.  He was arrested by the Naval's anti-bunkering team on patrol,  around Onne Waters,  Rivers State,  alongside others at large,  and MV Omiete VI laden  with One Hundred Thousand (100,000) litres of illegal refined AGO.

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