8 Convicted For Illegal Dealing – Court
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC prosecuted 8 suspects arrested as illegal petroleum dealers.
The suspects identified as: Victor Umana; Asuquo Ita Bassey; Okon Edet Solomon; Anthony Okon Effiong; Asuquo John Esuya; Victor Okon Moses; Bassey Effiong Antai and Vincent Okon Antai, were first arraigned by the Commission on May 10, 2019 on a three-count charge, bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, it was gathered that at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the suspects (now convicts), following a plea bargain agreement they reached with the Commission, changed their plea and pleaded guilty to a one-count amended charge read to them.
In view of their guilty plea, the prosecution counsel Adebayo Soares urged the court to convict the offenders and order forfeiture of the petroleum product to the federal government.
The defense counsel, Wole Ayewumi made an appeal for a light sentence for the convicts on the grounds that they are married men with no prior criminal records and did not waste the time of the court.
Consequently, Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, convicted and sentenced the eight illegal dealers in petroleum product to six months imprisonment with N20, 000 (Twenty Thousand Naira) option of fine each and a total forfeiture to the federal government of 150,300 liters of diesel (automotive gas oil, AGO), illegally conveyed in 501 drums.