A federal high court in Port Harcourt on Thursday cross examined an EFCC investigation officer, G Musa as 1st prosecution witness (PW1) in a trial involving five suspected oil thieves caught while ferrying 1,000 litres of adulterated petroleum products along Okrika water ways.
The suspected oil thieves whose names could not be ascertain as at the time of filing this report were caught by men of the Nigerian Navy on board a tugboat used in pulling a barge containing the said petroleum products, the PW 1 told the court.
The EFCC investigation officer said, “The five suspects were arrested by the Nigerian Navy on board a tugboat and handed over to us for investigation and prosecution.
“I was told that others now at large who were on board the barge jumped into the river on sighting men of the Nigerian Navy.
“We decided to prosecute these defendants because they have failed to show us an agreement of charter and the address of the hirer they claimed hired the vessels from them.”
Counsel to the defendants, Barr Dignity Nwieke told our correspondent that the onus lies on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt.
“Well, the prosecution has brought its witness which has been cross examined. What truly transpared will be revealed as the trial continues, “Nwieke said.
The case was adjourned till April 3, 2019 as the prosecution counsel, Barr Samuel Chime expressed satisfaction with the proceedings.
The defendants were slammed with a three count charge bordering on conspiracy, licencing as well as illegal dealing with adulterated petroleum products.