Justice Nnamdi Digmba of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 sentenced the duo of Victor Briggs and Abiye Membere, both former top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to two years imprisonment after he found them guilty for “Unethically collecting car gifts as public officials,” an offense which contravenes Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.
They were convicted on Tuesday, February 7 but the court reserved sentencing till today, February 8, 2023.
When the matter resumed on Wednesday, the convicts through their counsel, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, while O.A Atolagbe who held the brief of lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, urged the court to impose custodial sentence on the defendants.
Justice Dimgba sentenced the convicts to two years imprisonment with an option of Two Million Naira fine each, to be paid immediately to the Federal government.
The convicts were prosecuted by the EFCC for conspiracy in inducing the NPDC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Olajide Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited; and receiving car gifts from Omokore and his companies.
Briggs and Membere are two of the five persons that stood trial in the $1.6billion money laundering charge before Justice Dimgba.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed this in a Tuesday statement.
The statement quoted the trial judge as saying that public officials must act at arm’s length with private individuals, especially those that have business relations with their departments or agencies.
However, the court acquitted three other defendants, Olajide Omokore and two companies linked to him, Atlantic Energy Brass Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, purveyors of the car gifts for which the 4th and 5th defendants were convicted, on the grounds that the EFCC failed to prove its case against them.