The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned two staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Munzali Ahmed and Alex Bala before a Federal High Court sitting in Kano State on a one-count charge of diverting Premium Motor Spirit.
Ahmed and Bala who are NNPC sales representatives in Dutse, Jigawa State and Hotoro, Kano State, respectively, were arraigned before Justice Idrissa Kolo for the offence of sabotage.
The offence contradicted Section 1 (1) (a) of the Petroleum Production and Distribution (Anti-Sabotage) Act, Cap. P12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 and punishable under Section 2 of the same Act.
The accused persons were arrested by operatives of the EFCC in March this year, following an intelligence report on their activities.
They were said to have sold the product above the approved pump price of N86.00k per litre as at then.
The count reads: “That you, Munzali Ahmed and Alex Bala , on 14th March, 2016 in Kano within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court willfully diverted 40, 000 litres of Premium Motor Sprit (PMS) in a truck with Reg. No: GME 804 XA to Danmarke Investment Limited and Munira Petroleum Limited, Zaria, Kaduna State with intent to prevent its distribution from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Kano, Jigawa State.”
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Prosecution counsel, Salihu Sani, asked the court for a trial date.
However, the defence counsel, Nuraini Jimoh, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter and urged the court to allow the accused persons to continue to enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted them by the EFCC.
Consequently, Justice Kolo adjourned the matter to June 24, 2016 for ruling on the bail application.
The accused persons were remanded in prison custody.