An Indian citizen who was arrested for stealing 45 tonnes of crude oil from the Niger Delta area of the country was on Tuesday, June 23, dragged to a court in Lagos State accused of stealing from Nigeria.
The Indian, Rahul Pathania, was said to have used a vessel, M.V. Bount, to steal the crude oil from the Niger Delta before he was arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy.
He was brought before Justice Rilwan M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.
He was subsequently remanded in prison custody after he pleaded guilty to the count of conspiracy and not guilty to the two other counts.
According to the anti-graft agency in a statement on Tuesday, the man was arrested alongside the vessel on January 31, 2020 in Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to the anti-graft agency for prosecution.
The statement said prosecution counsel, Usman Buhari, told the court that the Indian conspired to deal in “45 metric tonnes of petroleum products without appropriate license.”
The court heard that the offence violated Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 and was punishable under Section 1(7) of the same Act.
In view of his plea, Buhari prayed the court for a date to commence trial and also asked that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Aikawa granted his prayer and adjourned till October 7, 2020 for trial.
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