Three Indians get 15yrs jail term for illegal bunkering in Bayelsa State, Nigeria
A Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Balyesa State, has convicted three Indian nationals, Ajay Bhatiya (owner of Vessel MT Akshay), Sailesh Kumar Singh, (the captain of the vessel) and Chadrashekar Sharma, to 15 years imprisonment for offences bordering on oil theft.
The convicts were among 12 oil theft suspects, including eight other Indians, one Ghanaian and a Nigerian arrested aboard MT Akshay by men of the Joint Task Force, Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, sometimes in November, 2012 and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and prosecution.
According to a statement issued by Mr Wilson Uwujaren, Head, EFCC Media and Publicity and dated May 14, 2014, the suspects were arraigned on a two-count charge before Justice Lambo Akanbi on January 22, 2013. After diligent prosecution, the court found the first and the second accused, alongside Bhatiya, the owner of the vessel (who is still at large), guilty of the first count charge, which bordered on conspiracy and convicted them accordingly.
The other accused- Dharmaraj Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Nimesh Kodi Parambil, Ashraf Ali, Sanjeev Kumar, Sarbjot Singh, Arvind Kumar Bhardwaj, Gagan Kumar, Dele Johnson Olayemi and Benneth Egbegi were, however, discharged and acquitted of the two-count charges preferred against them by the EFCC.