Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin City on Tuesday September 25, 2018 convicted and sentenced five persons to one year imprisonment each on a two count charge bordering on oil theft. The convicts are Ernest Seimodei, Fred Kemezide, Friday Ojugbeli, Lucky Okpowo and Samuel Chidi Akomas. The court also convicted their company, De-Ernesto oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
The Convicts who were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC, pleaded guilty to the 2-count charge when it was read to them. Based on their plea, the prosecution counsel, Larrys Aso Peters prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
The defence counsel, P. E. Ejiga however prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders. Justice Ajoku consequently sentenced the five defendants to one year imprisonment on each of the two counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Count one of the charge reads; "That you Ernest Seimodei, Fred Kemezide, Friday Ojugbeli, Lucky Okpowo, Samuel Chidi Akomas, De-Ernesto Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited and Amtari Ekenekeme (now at large) on or about the 28th February, 2018 in Facados, Delta State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire with yourselves to commit an offence to wit: fraudulently take 392,103 litres of crude oil from SPDC Oil Well Custer 51 at Estuary, Forcados and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004".
Media & Publicity
26 September, 2018