By Oke Peter
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned five oil marketers for allegedly stealing petroleum products worth N1bn belonging to the United Bank for Africa.
Thompson Omoietan, Adeleke Lasun, Funmilola Oyerinde, Adegoke Shadrack and James Amore were arraigned on three counts of conspiracy, stealing and forgery.
However, they pleaded not guilty to the charges before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.
According to counsel for the EFCC, Kayode Oni, the defendants committed the offences in September 2011 alongside 13 others currently at large.
Some of the suspects at large are Ngozi Okoye, Cynthia Gboneme, Onyebuchi Patience, Godwin Onyeke and Moses Ojera.
Others are Umanah Bassey, Onwuka Ibisi, Hyginus Nwosu, Solomon Okpithe, Gbolade Otukoya and Godwin Omoke.
According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene sections 278, 285, 359, 363 and 409 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos 2011.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants and their accomplices forged documents titled, “Supervisory Discharge Certificate” addressed to the Managing Director of Menol Oil and Gas Limited.
Following the plea of the defendants, their lawyers, Yinka Farounbi and A. O. Akinyemi urged the court to grant their clients bail on the most liberal terms.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso, however, adjourned the matter till June 11 for ruling on the bail application and ordered that the defendants be remanded in EFCC custody pending the determination of their bail application.