By Tony Orilade, Ag. Head, Media & Publicity, EFCC
Justice A.T. Turaki of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 convicted and sentenced four oil thieves to one year imprisonment for dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licences. Also convicted were three companies used in the perpetuation of the crime.
The convicts are Jasper Akala; Jimmy Daoudu; Benjamin Okechukwu, Noble Wachukwu. The companies convicted were Delta Marine Shipping Company Limited; Delmar Petroleum Company Limited and Skymint Energy Limited.
They were all re-arraigned on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal office, on three – count amended charges bordering on dealing in petroleum product without appropriate licences.
Count one read: “That you Jasper Akala, Jimmy Daoudu, Benjamin Okechukwu, Barge MV Delma Eagle, Delta Marine Shipping Company Limited, Delmar Petroleum Company Limited, Skymint Energy Limited and Noble Wachukwu on or about the 18th November, 2016 around Taraba Jetty, Borokiri, Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did store about 800,000 liters of Automated Gas Oil (petroleum product) in the Tank of MV Delma Eagle being conveyed to Calabar without lawful authority of a valid licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 (1)(a) & (b) of Petroleum Act and Punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.
While all the convicts pleaded “guilty” to count- one of the charges, Jimmy Daodu (2nd defendant) pleaded “not guilty” to counts 2 and 3 respectively.
Prosecution counsel, K.W. Chukwuma – Eneh and all the defence counsels: Francis Arochukwu (for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th convicts), C.A.C Opurum (for the 3rd and 7th convict) and V.N. Nweke (for the 8th convict) agreed on the convicts’ pleas of “guilty.”
In view of their pleas, Chukwuma-Eneh prayed the court to convict them accordingly.
Justice Turaki convicted and sentenced Jasper Akala, Jimmy Daoudu, Benjamin Okechukwu and Noble Wachukwu to one year imprisonment each or a fine of One Million Naira (N1000,000) in lieu of imprisonment.
The Judge also convicted and sentenced Delta Marine Shipping Company Limited, Delmar Petroleum Company Limited and Skymint Energy Limited to One year imprisonment each or a fine of One Million Naira (N1,000,000) in lieu of imprisonment.
The convicts courted troubles when they were intercepted by Operation Delta Safe, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State alongside a barge, MV Delma Eagle loaded with about 800,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil at Taraba Jetty, Borokiri, Port Harcourt sometimes in November, 2016. Investigations showed that they had no license to deal in petroleum products.
Meanwhile, another judge in the same court, on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 convicted and sentenced Aretuemhen Frank to one year imprisonment for defrauding an American lady, Thorman Benson the sum of $12000 (Twelve Thousand American dollars) in series of online dating deals.
Frank was arraigned on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 by the EFCC, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on one-count charge bordering on impersonation, contrary to Section 22(3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 punishable under Section 22(4) of the same Act.
The count charge read: “That you, Aretuemhen Frank (a.k.a Max Allen), on or about December 2018, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court fraudulently impersonated one Max Allen, a United States of America Soldier, with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 22(3) (a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22(4) of the same Act”.
He pleaded ‘guilty’ to the count charge.
In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, S. Chime prayed the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.
Defence counsel, U. Lucky, did not oppose the prosecution counsel.
Justice Abubakar convicted and sentenced Frank to one (1) year imprisonment without an option of fine.
Frank’s journey to prison began when operatives of the EFCC, acting on intelligence, raided his hide out and arrested him. An iPhone 6S plus was recovered from him.
Investigation revealed that Frank was representing himself as an American with the United States Army, using Max Allen as his identity. With the fraudulent identity, he succeeded in defrauding an American lady, Thorman Benson the sum of $12,000 by promising to marry her.