Alleged Foreign Oil Thieves Seek To Dismiss Charges

oil bunkering thieves14 foreigners alleged to be involved in illegal oil bunkering on Wednesday asked Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to dismiss the charges against them.

Through their counsel, Babajide Koku SAN, the accused persons filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the charges.

The foreigners contended that they were arrested on international waters which were not within Nigeria’s territorial waters.

They also challenged the charge insisting that it disclosed no offense against them.

The foreigners made up of eight Filipinos: Cadavis Gerardo, Baduria Benjamin, Regidor Hilarion, Naranjo Allan Antero, Patero Christian, Alkyde Joel, Caratiquit Micheal Bryan, Ciudad Prudencio, Cabanal Anecito, Cabuquin Andres and Podutan Eduardo, with a Georgian – Agbarian Sergoand, three Russians: Pakhladzhian Artur, Kretov Andrey and Shkundich Vasily and three Ukrainians: Laguta Oleksiy, Chepikov Oleksandr and Bilous Vitalli, also claim that they were not involved in any illegal activity, challenging the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute them without first seeking and obtaining the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation.

However, the EFCC has opposed the application, insisting that it is premature and wants the court to proceed to trial and make a ruling on the application when judgment is delivered on the case.

The commission through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, also insisted that having charged the foreigners under the Miscellanous Offences Act for illegal dealing in petroleum products for which they had no license, they did not need the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation to institute the criminal action against the accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned till Thursday, June 18 to rule on whether to proceed with the trial of the case.