Oil Theft: Court Jails Captain, Forfeits Vessel To FG
A Lagos Federal High Court, today, convicted a vessel Captain, Omosehin Ipinle and sentenced him to one year imprisonment for unlawful possession of 120 metric tonnes of Automative Gas Oil, popularly called Diesel.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo who presided over the court equal convicted the vessel used in stealing the petroleum product, MV D’ Dove, and forfeited it with the stolen120 metric tonnes to the Federal government of Nigeria.
Justice Oweibo convicted and sentenced both the captain and the vessel, after the Captain, Omosehin Ipinle, changed his earlier not guilty plea.
The convict and the forfeited vessel alongside one Nsikak Friday, were arraigned before the court, on charges bordering on conspiracy, unlawful dealing and unlawful storage of 120 metric tonnes of AGO, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a charge marked FHC/L/38/2018.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mohammed Abass, are contrary to Section 3(6); 1(17) and of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M 17, Law the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(17) the same Act. And section 4 of the Petroleum Act Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
They were admitted to bail after they pleaded not guilty to the allegations
However, during their trial, the third defendant, Nsikak Friday, jumped bail and never turn up for his trial.
At the resumed hearing of the charges today, the convict changed his plea and entered a pea bargain agreement with the EFCC.
In the terms of plea bargain as agreed by both parties are as follows; the defendants shall plead “guilty” to the offences with which they are; that the first defendant (MV D’ DOVE 1) and its content (120 MT of petroleum product) to be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria upon conviction by this Honourable Court; that a term of one year imprisonment is proposed to this Honourable Court to be imposed on the second defendant, upon their conviction by this Honourable Court. And that the defendant shall upon their release from the Nigerian Correctional Facilities enter into a bond with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to be of good behavior and never to be involved in any economic and financial crimes, illegitimate or criminal act within and outside the shores of this Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Upon the adoption of the terms of plea bargain agreement today, Justice Oweibo consequently, convicted and sentenced the Captain to a year Imprisonment while also ordered the forfeiture of the vessel, MV D’ Dove and it’s content, 120 metric Tonnes of AGO to the Federal government of Nigeria.
Justice Oweibo however ordered that the Captain’s jail term commenced from March 9, 2021, when the plea bargain agreement was entered.