Appeal Court upholds conviction of foreigners over crude oil theft

An appeal court in Lagos yesterday upheld the conviction of nine foreigners for stealing crude oil from Nigeria.A Federal High Court in Lagos, which had earlier sentenced them for stealing 3,423.097 metric tones of the crude, gave each of them an option of N20million fine.

The convicts are Axel Jabone, Zahirul Islam, Juanito Infantado, Suarin Alave, Gatila Gadayan and Islam Shahinul. Others are Islam Rafiqul, Shaikh Nomany and Rolando Comendador.

Five of the convicts are Filipinos, while the four others are from Bangladesh.Led by Justice Hussein Mukhtar, the three-man panel also included Justices M. l. Shuaib and Frederick Oho.

The appellate court also dismissed the twin appeals by the appellants and resolved all the contending issues in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to Justice Oho: “All the issues are resolved against the appellants, because the appeal is manifestly unmeritorious and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”

On December 15, 2015, the lower court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba said: “It was the likes of the convicts who were arrested by the Navy on March 27, 2015, that have given Nigeria a bad name.”

The EFCC had arraigned them on a four-count of illegal dealing in petroleum products.The counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the foreigners violated section 1(19) (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17, and laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, an offence punishable under section 17 of the same Act.

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