Law News
Illegal oil deal: Court adjourns trial of 14 foreigners

A Federal High Court in Lagos has further adjourned till July 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2015, the trial of 14 foreigners arraigned for allegedly dealing in petroleum products within the Nigerian territorial waters without lawful authority.

The accused persons include citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Japan and the United Kingdom.

They include Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Teofilo Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy and Cadavis Gerarado.

Others are Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Allian Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Michael Beyan.

Their trial which had been slated to continue on Monday could not proceed as the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, said the court could not accommodate any trial for Monday.

He subsequently adjourned till July 7, 8, 9 and 10 for continuation of trial.

The 14 foreigners are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which arraigned them on four counts of conspiracy and illegal deal in petroleum products.

Counsel for the anti-graft agency, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had on June 10 told the court that the accused persons were arrested along with their vessel,  MT Anukpet Emerald, from which they carried out the alleged unlawful business

According to the charge filed against them, the accused persons had on March 27, 2015 allegedly dealt  in petroleum products estimated at 1,738.087 metric tons without appropriate licence.

They were also accused of dealing in 1,500 metric tons of Automated Gas Oil and  3,035 metric tons of Low Pour Fuel Oil without lawful authority.

The prosecution said the offence was a contravention of  Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Section 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

If found guilty, the accused persons are liable to be punished under section 1(17) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

But they pleaded not guilty upon their arraignment and were granted bail each in the sum of N50m with one surety in like sum.

The judge said the surety must be resident in Lagos. He ordered the accused persons to deposit all their travelling documents in the custody of the EFCC.

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