Justice M.L. Abubarkar of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced one Bukar Ali to three years imprisonment, for dealing in petroleum products without a requisite license.
He was convicted on Tuesday after pleading “guilty” to one count amended charge that borders on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products, contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the Reverse Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007.
The charge read: “That you Bukar Ali on or about the 20th day of January, 2020, along Eleme in Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without appropriate license dealt in petroleum products to wit: 40,000 litres Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) conveyed in a multi-coloured, red-headed Iveco Truck with registration number: AGL 157 XF and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the Reverse Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007”.
Based on Ali’s “guilty” plea, the prosecution counsel M.I. Iko, prayed to the court to convict and sentence him accordingly.
However, the defence counsel, M.M. Suleiman, sued for leniency as the defendant is a first time offender who has become remorseful and did not waste the time of the court.
Justice Abubarkar found Ali guilty as charged and sentenced him to three years imprisonment, with an option of fine of N500,000.
He also ordered that the 40,000 litres AGO be sold and the proceeds paid into the Federal Government’s TSA Account. The judge, however, ordered that the tanker be released to the owner.
Ali was arrested by the anti-bunkering team of the 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on 20 January along Eleme Road in Port Harcourt with an Iveco Tanker with registration number: AGL 157 XF, loaded with products suspected to be adulterated Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
Investigations showed that the truck was not accompanied by the necessary documents such as a waybill, loading meter tracker, evidence of purchase, among others.