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Rivers Court Jails Man for Stealing Diesel Worth N4.59m





A Rivers Magistrate’s court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced a former sales representative with Hyde Energy Limited in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Kehinde Ajani, to four years and six months imprisonment with hard labour for diverting 30,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel, valued N4,590,000.00 belonging to the company.

The court, however, gave him an option of fine of N150,000 and  immediate refund of the sum N4,100,000.00 to his former employer.

The Guardian gathered that the convict was employed by Hyde Energy Limited as a sale representative in 2008 to oversee about eight stations across the country.


However, the devil allegedly overtook him in May 2017,  after loading the product at Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) depot, he diverted and sold it for personal use.

It was further learnt that when the product was not seen at the station where it was meant, Ajani reportedly lied to the company that he was yet to load it due to some delay on the part of the tank farm.

The development prompted the company to contact a law firm, Messrs Adeniji Kazeem & Co, who promptly petitioned the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Port Harcourt. The police swung into action immediately and trailed Ajani to his hideout somewhere in Ogun State, arrested him and charged to court for conspiracy and stealing in May 2019.

His trial, however, suffered some administrative bottleneck following the elevation of the former Magistrate presiding over the matter, after which it was freshly brought before Chief Magistrate Victor Ugoji in September 2021.

Delivering judgment in the matter, Chief Magistrate Ugoji held that a case of stealing was proved against the defendant, found him guilty and convicted him of the offence accordingly.


The Magistrate said: “There was heavy and unchallenged evidence against the defendant, which must be relied on. The case falls squarely on betrayal of trust, which the complainant had reposed on the defendant and he should serve as deterrence to others.

“On the offence of conspiracy, the defendant is hereby sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour with an option of fine of N50,000. On the offence of stealing, the defendant is hereby sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour with an option of fine of N100,000.

“The defendant is to pay the sum of N4 million to the complainant as compensation for his product. The defendant is also to pay the sum of N100,000 to the complainant as cost of litigation. The payment should be immediate.”

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