Adebayo Obajemu

It was a victory for the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as the  Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, at the weekend, sentenced two truck drivers, Udo Micah and Uba Stephen Kelechi, to one year imprisonment on separate count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products without appropriate license.

The Judge, Justice I.M. Sani, delivered the ruling on the case brought before him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Port Harcourt Zonal Office.

The charge reads: “That you Udo Micah, on 15th January, 2019 around Rumuigbo, in Port Harcourt Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did deal in petroleum product, Automotive Gas Oil, which is not of the quality, and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(18) (a) (i) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act M17 Revised Edition (LFN) 2007 and punishable under Section 1(18) (a) (i) of the same Act.”

“That you Uba Stephen Kelechi on 20th January, 2019 around Imo River, Oyigbo, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did deal in petroleum product, Automotive Gas Oil, which is not of the quality, and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(18) (a) (i) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act M17 Revised Edition (LFN) 2007 and punishable under Section 1(18) (a) (i) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded “guilty” to the charges, prompting the Prosecuting Counsel, K. W Chukwuma-Eneh, to urged the court to convict the them accordingly.

But Counsel to the defendants, D.D. Ayuba, appealed to the court to be lenient in the exercise of its discretion, as the defendants who have no previous criminal record, had become remorseful.

Justice Sani, consequently convicted and sentenced Micah to one year imprisonment with an option of fine of N1 Million, while the product in the truck was ordered forfeited to the Federal Government. However, the tuck itself, is to be returned to the owner, Destiny Ukpebor Tunde.

Kelechi bagged one year imprisonment with the option of N300,000 fine.

Micah was arrested by officers of Six Division, Nigerian Army with a truck with registration, Abia AX 599 EZA loaded with 33,000litres of suspected illegally refined Automotive Gasoline Oil.

They were subsequrntly handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution