The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on Tuesday affirmed the two years’ imprisonment imposed by the Federal High Court in Lagos on 14 foreign nationals who were convicted for illegally dealing in 1,738.087 metric tons of petroleum product in the country in 2015.
The convicts, identified as citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Philippine and Japan, include Artur Pakhladzhian, Sergo Abbgarian, Vasily Shkundich, vitaliy Bilours, Hlarion Regipor, Laguta Oleksiy and Cadavis Gerarado.
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Others are Kretov Andry, Badurian Benjamin, Chepikov Olksan, Naranjo Antero, Patro Christian, Alcayde Joel and Caratiquit Beyan.
They were convicted alongside their vessel, MT Anukt Emerald, and two companies – Monjasa DMCC, and Glencore Energy UK Ltd.
In a judgment on March 18, 2016, Justice Ibrahim Buba convicted the foreigners on five counts and sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment each starting from March 27, 2015 when they were arrested by the Nigerian Navy.
The judge, however, gave them the fine option of paying N5m instead of going to jail, while he also ordered the forfeiture of their vessel and the petroleum product on it to the Federal Government.
He ordered the two companies convicted alongside with the foreigners to pay N5m fine on each of the five counts levelled against them.
But the foreigners, who were displeased with the judgement, appealed.
The Court of Appeal, however, in a lead judgement on Tuesday by Justice Garba Haruna, dismissed the appeal and rather upheld the verdict of Justice Buba.