The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Monday affirmed the judgment of a Federal High Court in the State, which sentenced nine foreigners to five years imprisonment each, for stealing crude oil from Nigeria.
The three-man panel, comprising Justices Hussein Mukhtar (presiding), M. L. Shuaib and Frederick Oho, also dismissed the twin appeals filed by the convicted persons for lack of merit.
Justice Oho, who delivered the judgment, resolved all the issues in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said: “All the issues are resolved against the appellants. The appeal is manifestly unmeritorious and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
The convicts are Axel Jabone, Zahirul Islam, Juanito Infantado, Suarin Alave, Gatila Gadayan, Islam Shahinul, Islam Rafiqul, Shaikh Nomany and Rolando Comendador.
The convicts were tried by the antigraft agency on a four-count bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products.
On December 15, 2015, the lower court convicted the foreigners — five Filipinos and four Bangladeshi — of stealing 3,423.097 metric tonnes of crude oil.
Justice Ibrahim Buba, who gave the judgment, however, gave each of them an option of N20m fine.
He said it was the likes of the convicts that give the African giant a bad name.
The judge further found them guilty on all the counts and sentenced them to five years imprisonment each, saying that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.