Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced that seven men have been jailed for 10 years after being arrested with nearly 1,500 tons of contraband petrol, the Business Standard reported.
The defendants, all Nigerian nationals, were found guilty at the Federal High Court in Lagos, on four counts of illegal oil bunkering (theft) and one of unlicenced dealing in petroleum products.
The individuals were part of the crew of the MT Good Success, intercepted by a navy patrol boat off the coast of Lagos in February last year with 1,495 tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol/gasoline) on board, the EFCC said in a statement.
According to the South African news channel eNCA, there was nearly $1.7m worth of petrol on board, while the vessel itself was ordered to be forfeited to the Nigerian government.
Judge OE Abang sentenced the men to 10 years on each of the first four counts and two years on the fifth, to run concurrently.
He also described the guilty parties as “lawless” and said he hoped the sentences would serve as a deterrent.
Nigeria has been cracking down on corruption in the oil sector since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected, describing the 50,000 barrels of crude stolen every day as “mind-boggling.”
The United States Institute of Peace has also revealed that international crime syndicates are often involved in financing, transporting and laundering the money.