Court jails six foreigners for seven years for oil theft in Port Harcourt
Judge JK Omotosho of the Federal Superior Court of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and one Nigerian to seven years in prison for oil theft.
They were jailed on Monday, November 23, 2020 after three years of diligent prosecution by the Port Harcourt Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Zone Office, EFCC.
The foreigners are two Pakistanis: Mohammed Ejaz, Nasser Khan; two Ukrainians: Oleksandr Nazarenko, Oleksandr Kashernvi; a Ghanaian: Romeo Annang, and an Indonesian: Fredrik Fatin Omenu. His Nigerian counterpart: David Otuohi pocketed the same jail sentence with them.
The condemned were indicted on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, along with three other foreigners and another Nigerian for theft of oil. The other three foreigners Victor Mikpayi (Beninois), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah (Ghanaians) and Victor Azebiri (Nigerian) were released and acquitted by the court.
They were all docked next to a company: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE (also known as MT STAR), with four counts bordering on conspiracy, trading in unlicensed petroleum products and pipeline manipulation.
The count of 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 also known as MT STAR (Vessel), Peter Ala (in general), David Ogoma, also known as Ambassador (in general) and others now generally, on April 20 and / or 25, 2017 or around that date in Escravos within the jurisdiction of this honorable court conspired between you to commit a serious crime: to distribute, trade or with petroleum products without the corresponding license and, therefore, committed an offense contrary to Section 3 (6 ) of the Misc Crimes Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) of 2007 and punishable by virtue of article 1 (17) of the same law ”.
Another post said “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 alias MT STAR (Vessel), Peter Ala (General), David Ogoma, also known as Ambassador (general) and others now at liberty, on or around April 25, 2017 in Escravos, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, they did it without the proper authority. or license to distribute, trade or with petroleum products, that is: 1905,836 cubic liters of crude oil transported in a vessel named “MT TECNE” (VESSEL) and therefore committed an offense contrary to Section 1 (17) (a ) of the CAP M17 Offenses Act of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) of 2007 and punishable under Article 1 (17) of the same law ”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them.
His allegations prepared the basis for his trial by the EFCC, which for three years presented evidence and witnesses who testified against the defendants in court.
In his sentencing on Monday, Judge Omotosho found the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eleventh defendants guilty of the four counts and sentenced them to seven years in prison with a fine option of N2,000,000 ( two Million Naira only) each, while the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th defendants were released and acquitted on the grounds that “they were not linked to the commission of the crime.” The sentences are executed simultaneously from the date of the appearance.
The company involved in the crime: Asztral Shipping Corporation SA was liquidated by the court while the ship that transported the offensive crude oil: MT TECNE, also known as MT STAR (Vessel) was confiscated by the Federal Government.
Suspected oil thieves encountered rough waters when their ship was intercepted by the NNS DELTA on April 25, 2017 at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Terminal Afremo ‘A’, southeast of Escravos in the local government area. from Burutu in the state of Delta. for illegal cargo of petroleum products suspected of being crude.
The crew members colluded with Victor Azeberi (the first defendant); a Peter Ala and David Ogoma (AKA) Ambassador, who are now on the lam, to extract around 1905,836 cubic liters of crude oil.
The ship was not authorized by the relevant Nigerian maritime agencies to sail in Nigerian waters and all foreign crew on board the ship did not have valid documents to enter Nigeria.