A Federal High Court siting in Benin City has sentenced five men to one year in prison for fraudulent lifting crude oil from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

Justice P.I. Ajoku gave the order on September 25, following the guilty plea of the defendants arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a two-count charge of theft.

The defendants, Ernest Seimodei, Fred Kemezide, Friday Ojugbeli, Lucky Okpowo and Samuel Chidi Akomas of De-Ernesto Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, were found guilty of fraudulently taking “392,103 litres of crude oil from SPDC Oil Well Custer 51 at Estuary, Forcados and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004".

Larrys Aso Peters, the prosecuting counsel, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.  

The defence counsel, P.E. Ejiga however prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first-time offenders.  

Justice Ajoku consequently sentenced the five defendants to one year imprisonment on each of the two counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.

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