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Oil Theft: Clark Wants FG to Institute Judicial Inquiry; Calls it sophisticated Criminal Act

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Oil Theft: Clark Wants FG to Institute Judicial Inquiry; Calls it sophisticated Criminal Act

… As NSCDC parades 16 suspected oil thieves in Rivers***

Elder Statesman and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Clark on Monday called on the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate the unfolding oil theft in the country.

Clark, who made the call while addressing a news conference in Abuja, describing oil theft as a criminal act, a few hours after which the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Rivers, paraded 16 suspected oil thieves involved in illegal refining of crude oil to produce diesel.

Also read: Oil theft, pipeline vandalism impacting negatively on Nigeria’s economy – Aregbesola

Edwin Clark said that the investigation to the matter must be full, open and comprehensive if there was a sincerity to unravel what was going on.

The elder statesman said: “My attention and that of the entire country have been drawn to the recent discovery of a large scale and sophisticated oil theft machinery going on at the deep swamps at Yokri, close to the Forcados terminal in Delta.

“According to reports, high-powered technological engineering expertise is applied to steal crude oil from the Forcados line.

“This is transported through a four-kilometre pipeline to a platform in the sea, which belongs to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), and its partners.”

Clark further cited the report saying that about 200 hundred barrels of crude oil were been stolen from there every day and that this has been going on since 2014.

“According to NNPCL, this is part of the 470 thousand barrels of crude oil that is being lost every month, amounting to 700 million Dollars.

“Although the NNPCL thinks these have been going on in the past 20 years, some of us have always insisted that this oil theft has been going on for much longer, for about 50 years.”

He said that the illicit four kilometers pipeline through which crude oil was being siphoned indicated that oil theft was being perpetuated by some mafia-like groups, with the connivance of some people in the oil industry.

“What is going on is a sophisticated criminal act, carried out by a syndicate,” he said.

Clark further said that the investigation must uncover all government officials including top officials of the NNPCL and their collaborators, who had inflicted such magnitude of harm on the country, and on the Niger Delta communities.

“It is dangerously incredible that crude oil theft, in spite of all the securities around, has assumed a wider dimension to the extent that the quantity of crude oil we export today is less than the quantity being stolen by a gang of thieves of various designations.”

In another development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Rivers on Tuesday paraded 16 suspected oil thieves involved in the illegal refining of crude oil to produce diesel.

The corps Commandant in the state, Mr Michael Ogar, paraded the 16 male suspects before newsmen in Port Harcourt.

He said they were arrested by operatives of NSCDC and Nigeria Navy during separate raids at different locations in the state.

According to him, the operations led to the seizure of about 200,000 litres of adulterated diesel that was being readied for distribution to unsuspecting motorists in the state.

“Eight of the suspects were arrested by operatives of NSCDC’s anti-vandal unit while the other eight were handed over to us by Nigeria Navy Ship Pathfinder Port Harcourt.

“The 16 suspects were arrested for their involvement in oil theft and illegal refining of diesel.

“Some of the suspects were caught moving about 200,000 litres of diesel with their trucks, Sport Utility Vehicles and other cars to different locations in the state before their arrest,” he said.

Ogar said the command had made several arrests and confiscated petroleum products following the marching order to the NSCDC by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers.

He assured the people that the command would not rest until all forms of illegal bunkering of petroleum products and vandalising of oil and gas installations were stopped in the state.

“We are not going to compromise on our mandate.

The many arrests and seizures show that our officers and men have been complying to government directives to stop illegal bunkering.

“Aside from this, we are also going after landlords who connive with criminals by allowing them to use their buildings and facilities to illegally bunker petroleum products.

“The Command is already on the trail of such landlords, and will arrest and charge them to court for allowing their property to be used for illegal activities,” he added.

The Commandant said the suspects would soon be charged to court while the command would seek the forfeiture of the seized vehicles and petroleum products to the Federal.

 

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Auxiliary’, Chairman Oyo park system, gets Feb. 27; 4 others docked over Police-Assault in Ibadan

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Auxiliary’, Chairman Oyo park system, gets Feb. 27; 4 others docked over Police-Assault in Ibadan

A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan adjourned the trial of chairman of the disciplinary committee of the Park Management System (PMS), Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi, aka Auxilliary, Mukaila Lamidi, 61, (aka Auxilliary) until April 27.

Lamidi was docked on Nov 17, 2022, for the alleged destruction of billboards of candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) worth N4.2 million.

The court did not seat on Thursday and no reason was given by the registrar.

All counsel in the matter agreed on the April 27 adjourned date.

He is charged with six counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful damage and breach of public peace.

The Prosecution Counsel, ASP Sunday Fatola, said that the defendant and others at large allegedly conspired to commit the offence.

The police alleged that the defendant, on Nov. 13, at Igboora, at about 6.50 p.m., wilfully and unlawfully damaged APC billboards bearing the pictures of the party’s presidential, governorship and House of Representatives candidates, valued at N1.2 million.

The prosecution said on Nov. 13, at about 11.00 a.m. at Ido, in Omi-Adio Magisterial Area, Lamidi allegedly conspired with others to wilfully and unlawfully damage APC billboard, bearing the picture of Aderemi Oseni, the party’s House of Representatives candidate worth N3 million.

He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 249 (d), 451 and 517 of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Taiwo Oladiran, had admitted the defendant to bail in the N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.

In another development, four persons, Mohammed Omobonike, 45, Abdulahi Akewula, 33, Idowu Basit, 25 and Alimat Muhammed, 18, were on Thursday, arraigned in an Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court Ibadan for allegedly assaulting police officers.

The defendants, whose residential addresses were not provided, were charged with serious assault and assault occasioning harm.

The Prosecutor, Mr Philip Amusan told the court that the defendants allegedly committed the offence on Jan. 31, at 4. 30 p.m., around Idi-Ayunre road, Ibadan.

Amusan alleged that the four accused persons and others at large unlawfully assaulted Insp. Edalere Samusideen of the Iyaganku police station Ibadan and caused him serious bodily harm.

The prosecutor said that the defendants on the same date and place also allegedly assaulted another police officer, Sgt. Rufus Adewuyi and caused him harm.

He said the offence contravened Section 356(2) of the Criminal laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. A Akande granted the defendants bail in the sum of N50, 000 and one surety each in like sum.

She adjourned the case until March 3, for hearing.

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Accountant tells court how CEO, Amaechi Ndili, Wife allegedly converted $4.7m

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Accountant tells court how CEO, Amaechi Ndili, Wife allegedly converted $4.7m

… Case adjourned till Jan. 31 for continuation of trial***

An accountant, on Monday, told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how the chief executive officer of Lionstone Offshore Services Ltd. and his wife allegedly converted $4.7 million to their personal use.

The accountant, Mr Godwin Okon, testified against Amaechi Ndili and his wife, Njide, who are facing a three-count charge bordering on stealing and fraudulent conversion of money to personal use.

The couple, however, pleaded not guilty.

Okon, also a business analyst, told the court that the defendants entered into a contract with Hercules Offshore Nig. Ltd.

According to the witness, after executing the contract, the defendants converted part of the proceeds to their personal use.

The witness was led in evidence by ACP Simon Lough (SAN).

He said that Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria had a contract with Lionstone Offshore Services Ltd., which was executed by Hercules based on an agreement jointly written on Jan. 14, 2010.

“Sometime in December 2009, Amaechi came to Hercules to discuss the possibility of collaboration between the two companies to team up and carry out some contracts in the Nigeria oil and gas field.

“The first defendant had based his reason on the expertise and experience of Hercules company, and by Jan. 14, 2010, a joint bidding agreement was entered into and some terms were spelt out,” he said.

The witness told the court that Lionstone was responsible for the submission of tenders and receiving of payments, while Hercules was responsible for providing technical information and financial information.

He said: “Some other joint bidding agreements were fees spelt out.

“Lionstone will be entitled to a one-time flat fee of $75,000 on the execution; then an annual amount of $150,000, for three years.

“The contract was entered into by Lionstone and  Addax in October 2010, but it was executed by Hercules based on an agreement.

“When there is payment, the payment will go to the Lionstone account; then, Lionstone, on receiving such the amount, will remit the net amount after taking two per cent.

“Lionstone paid the invoices from Addax from the inception of the execution of the contract, up till June 2012, to Hercules.

“From July 2012 to September 2013, Lionstone did not remit any money again.

“Based on the invoices, after Lionestone had failed to remit the money to Hercules and after making calls and nothing happened, our senior management went to Addax to inquire, and it was from there that we were told that Addax had paid all the invoices to Lionstone and that they were not owing Lionstone any money,” the witness said.

The police had on Oct. 19, 2022, arraigned the couple alongside Lionstone Offshore Services Ltd. on a three-count charge.

The couple, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The police alleged that the defendants committed the offences from July 2012 to September 2013  at Lionstone Offshore, off A58 Road 2, Victoria Garden City, Lagos State, and Lionstone Offshore Services Ltd. at No. 38/39 Bull Plaza 19, Floor Marina, Lagos.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 516, 387 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Justice Olubummi Abike-Fadipe adjourned the case until Jan. 31 for continuation of trial.

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Court approves eligibility of ICPC witness in N10m bribery case against LG chairman

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Court approves eligibility of ICPC witness in N10m bribery case against LG chairman

Officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) can stand as prosecution witnesses in bribery cases, an FCT High Court ruled on Monday.

Justice Peter Kekemeke gave the ruling in a N10 million bribery suit filed against former Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Malam Adamu Danze.

The ICPC had charged Danze with six counts of demanding N10 million kickbacks from a contractor handling construction projects in the area council.

It alleged that in March 2018, Danze demanded a N10 million bribe from the contractor handling the construction of a double-cell culvert at Paiko-Kore (Gwagwalada).

It alleged that the defendant demanded that the director, Remotosh Construction Ltd., Mr. Aremu Omotosho, should transfer the money to the counsel handling his election petition matter.

ICPC stated that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 10(a), 18(d), and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Danze pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

His defense counsel, Mr. Abdul Mohammed (SAN) had on July 7, 2002, argued before the court that an ICPC official was not eligible to stand as a prosecution witness in the case.

Justice Kekemeke ruled on Monday, however, that by virtue of Section 175 (1) of the Evidence Act, the witness is eligible to testify.

Section 175 (1) of the Evidence Act states that: “all persons shall be competent to testify unless; the court considers that they are prevented from understanding the question put to them.

He added that the witness was in court to tender documents that were already in the public domain and had not said anything before the lawyer’s objection.

Kekemeke further challenged the defense counsel to provide the relevant law which stated that the witness was not eligible to testify.

The judge adjourned the case to March 2 for continuation of trial after Danze’s lawyer prayed the court for the adjournment because his principal was not in court.

In March 2022, ICPC’s counsel, Mr. Michael Adesola presented the second prosecution witness Ms. Mutayo Idoku who happened to be a lawyer from the law chambers that handled Danze’s election petition matter.

Mohammed, the defendant’s lawyer opposed the move, saying that the witness could not give evidence in the matter by virtue of section 192 (1) of the Evidence Act.

The section states that: “no legal practitioner shall at any time be permitted, unless with his client’s express consent to disclose any communication and for the purpose of his employment as such legal practitioner by or on behalf of his client.’’

He promised to provide relevant literature and a written submission on whether or not Idoku could give evidence in the matter.

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