Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced five Indians to one year imprisonment each for oil theft.
The convicts prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are Visal Guleria, Pranjal Singh, Rahul Pathania, Akash Kumar and Sahil Sharma.
They were arrested by officers of the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS Beecroft, Alaka, Lagos on January 31, 2020 aboard the vessel MV Bount carrying 45.9 MT of automotive gas oil with no relevant documentation and subsequently handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.
The defendants were on June 25, 2020, arraigned separately on a three-count charge of offence bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
They initially pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby prompting their trial.
However, at the resumed sitting on December 9, 2020, the defendants all pleaded guilty.
In view of this, the prosecution counsel U.U. Buhari reviewed the facts of the matter and urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.
Justice Aikawa convicted and sentenced the defendants to one-year imprisonment on each count, which will run concurrently from the date of their arrest.