The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arranged 10 men before a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged illegal deal in petroleum products.
The defendants were arraigned on Thursday alongside a vessel, MV CX Fleet, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo on a three-count charge bordering on illegal deal in petroleum products to the tune of 100 metric tonnes of Automative Gas Oil.
The defendants are: Christopher Ewgeregor, Emeka Chidiebere, Erekedomene Lawrence, Collins Okorie, Julius Makingbene, Ededeni Bassey, James Joshua, Kingsley Tamumobelema, Iyobasogie Victor and Ajenu Michael
They were arrested alongside the vessel by the Nigeria Navy and handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
According to the charge, they were arrested on February 3 within the court’s jurisdiction.
The commission accused the defendants of conspiring to deal in 100 metric tonnes of AGO without an appropriate licence.
It said the offences contravened the provisions of Section 1(17) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act of 2004.
Each of the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, Mohammed Idris, asked the court for a trial date and urged that the defendants be remanded in a correctional centre pending trial.
Defence counsel, Malizu Iwudoh and Earnest Usiwoma, moved bail applications on behalf of the defendants and urged the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.
Justice Oweibo consequently granted the defendants bail in the sum of N2 million each, with four sureties in like sum.
He said the sureties must be civil servants of not less than grade level 10 and must reside within the court’s jurisdiction.
The court also ordered the defendants to perfect their bail conditions within 10 days or remain in custody.
He adjourned the case until October 8 for trial.