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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

Habeas Corpus writ filed to produce Filipinos in Saltpond oil case

Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - A writ of Habeas Corpus was filed on Thursday against the Attorney-General to produce four Filipinos accused of stealing 73,900 barrels of crude oil valued at seven million dollars belonging to the Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited. They are Iloefanso Pagay Pama, an engineer, Felix Bare Climaco, seaman, and two captains, Leonardo Planes Abrenica and Danielo Bagaso Bueno.

They were arrested in Nigeria and brought to Ghana since February 6, this year.

Epifano Moran Jio, an accomplice is at large. When defence counsel filed the writ of Habeas Corpus at the Fast Track High Court three days ago, they were quickly put before the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal to keep them in lawful custody. They were charged with the stealing and the tribunal did not take their plea.

At the Fast Track High Court on Thursday the representatives from the A-G said they were not served early and sought a date to respond. The court, presided over by Mr Justice K.A. Ofori-Attah therefore adjourned the matter to February 26.

Mr Quincy Sintim Aboagye, the complainant, is the Chief Executive officer of Saltpond Offshore Oil Company Limited.

In November 2007, Saltpond Offshore Oil Company limited contracted vessel MT Emerald through their agents NEPS in Nigeria to convey 73,900 barrels of crude oil from the company's base at Saltpond and discharge same at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

The crude oil was then loaded on the vessel and it set sail from Saltpond under the command of Epifanio, now at large, with the other accused persons on board the vessel.

On December 9, 2007, the accused persons sailed the vessel out of Ghana's territorial waters and went away with the crude oil. A report was made to INTERPOL Ghana and with the assistance of INTERPOL Nigeria the accused persons were arrested in Lagos, Nigeria. Investigations are underway and the crude oil is yet to be retrieved.

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