The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned 14 foreigners and three companies for alleged illegal oil bunkering. They are before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a four-count charge of conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The suspects include three Russians ( Pakhladzhian Artur, Kretov Andrey, Shkundich Vasily); three Ukrainians ( Laguta Oleksiy, Chepikov Oleksandr, Bilous Vitalli); Eight Filipinos ( Cadavis Gerardo, Baduria Benjamin, Regidor Hilarion, Naranjo Allan Antero,Patero Christian, Alkyde Joel, Caratiquit Micheal Bryan, Ciudad Prudencio, Cabanal Anecito, Cabuquin Andres, Podutan Eduardo) and one Georgian – Agbarian Sergoand.
Other companies were also in court for the same offence. The others are MT Anuket Emerald, Monjasa DMCC, and Glencore Energy UK Limited.
The Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft had intercepted MT Anuket during a routine patrol within Nigerian waters on March 8, 2015 on suspicion of illegal oil dealing before handing over the vessel and its crew to the EFCC.
Investigations by the EFCC reveal that the registered owner of the vessel is Combe Shipping Limited and the beneficial owner is Alliance Tankers Incorporated. The ship also flies Panama Flag with IMO number 9393644. It was discovered that Monjasa DMCC of Dubai UAE are the chatterers of the vessel.
Justice Buba granted the accused bail in the sum of N50, 000,000 each and one surety in like sum who must be a Nigerian. The judge said a single surety who is worth the entire bail bond could stand surety for all the accused persons.
However, the suggestion by the defence counsel to release the accused persons to their respective embassies was refused by the court.
The defence counsel told the court that since the accused persons were not Nigerians, it would be difficult to find a surety but urged the court to accept bank guarantee of the total sum.
Justice Buba granted the prayer of the defence counsel to accept a bank guarantee of N750, 000,000 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only) as bail bond for the accused persons but ordered the accused persons to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.
The case has been adjourned to June 17, 18 and 19, 2015 for commencement of trial.