The Economic and Financial Crimes on Wednesday arraigned a gang of 20 men with one Captain Daniel Lebile, for allegedly dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority.
They were arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba.
The accused include: Ala Ibanibo, Wole Ajayi, Adesunloye Fani-Kayode, Michael Mgbanwa, Segun Ekundemi, Johnson Mashebinu, Ndidi Benjamin, Bright Nwaezuoke, Blessing Omoviye and Kayode Ireti.
Others are Chuks Isiwepkweni, Friday Nchikpa, Peter Bayo, Ubom Amos, Zuopamo Embiowei, Olabamerun Owolemi, Adams Husseini, Ebisingha Timmy and Godwin Oputeh.
The accused were arraigned alongside their vessel, MV Long Island and their companies Afa Global Impex Services Limited and GFL Marine Service Limited.
According to what contained in the charge sheet numbered FHC/L/38C/15, the accused, sometimes around December 2, 2014, allegedly conspired and dealt in about 200 metric tons of petroleum products without lawful authority or appropriate licence.
The EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said the offence punishable under sections 17 and 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The offence was also said to contravene Section 4 of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Although the 23 accused persons denied being culpable and pleaded not guilty upon reading the charges to them.
Buba has therefore admitted each of the 23 accused persons, a bail in the sum of N50m with one surety in like sum. He said the surety must be resident in Lagos and must be an owner of landed property. The surety is to deposit into the court’s custody the title documents of his landed property; he is also to file before the court an evidence of means in form of his bank statement of account, which were to be verified by the court officials and the prosecution.
Buba also ordered each accused persons to sign an undertaking that they would not stall trial on account of the bail, just as he ordered them to submit two recent passport photographs each.
The judge subsequently adjourned till March 23 and 24 and April 2, 2015 for commencement of trial. He ordered the prison remand of the accused persons pending the fulfillment of their bail conditions.