The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned five suspects before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on four counts including conspiracy to store one hundred and eighty five( 185) Metric Tons of automotive gas oil, (also called diesel) without appropriate license.
The suspects: Captain Odeghe Andrew, Engineer Ebinum Alex, Jelili Lateef (still at large), Sunday Buluku (still at large) and Monday Osasuwa (still at large) were arraigned before Justice James Tsoho.
One of the charge reads: “That you Captain Odeghe Andrew, Engineer Ebinum Alex, Jelili Lateef, Sunday Bukulu, Monday Osasuwa, on or about 31st May, 2012 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, being the Master-in-Command and crew of the vessel MT. Floris conspired to store aboard the said vessel One Hundred and Eighty Five (185) Metric Tons of automotive gas oil without appropriate license under section 1 of the Petroleum Act, Cap. P9 Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and thereby committed an offences punishable under section 6 of the Petroleum Act, Cap. P9, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
When the charges were read to them, the suspects pleaded not guilty.
Prosecution counsel, Ben Ubi, informed the court that the EFCC was ready to proceed to trial. However, the defence counsel, Victor Opare, informed the court that he had filed an application for bail and prayed the court to hear the application. The judge obliged.
He argued that the offence for which his clients were docked is bail able and urged the court to consider the plight of one of the accused persons, Captain Andrew who has some health issues, in granting them bail. This claim of ill health was contested by Mr Ubi who demanded proofs from the defence.
Justice Tsoho, after listening to their arguments, admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of N200 million and one surety in like sum.
The surety must be a resident of Lagos and have a property in the metropolis. He must also be ready to provide original documents of the property and the title verified by the EFCC. In addition, the surety must provide evidence of three years tax payments.
Justice Tsoho adjourned the case to January 22, 2013 and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison.