Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Lagos Zonal office, yesterday arraigned one Mr. Rahul Pathania, an Indian, and a vessel, M.V. Bount, before Justice Rilwan .M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on three-count charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
The defendant was arrested alongside the vessel by the Nigerian Navy and subsequently handed over to to the commission for prosecution.
One of the counts reads: “That you, M.V.Bount and Rahul Pathania, on January 31, 2020, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in 45 metric tonnes of petroleum products without appropriate licence and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and punishable under Section 1(7) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the first count of conspiracy but not guilty to the others.
In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Usman Buhari, prayed the court for a date to commence trial and also asked that the defendant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS).
Justice Liman adjourned the matter to October 7, 2020 for commencement of trial and also ordered the defendant to be remanded in the NCS.