Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court in Ilorin has convicted a 29-year-old Chinese national, Gang Deng.
Deng was sentenced to five years imprisonment for illegal mining and possession of minerals without lawful authority.
He was arrested along Tsaragi Road in Share, Edu LGA of Kwara State, on September 9 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The convict was found with 25 tons of minerals suspected to be Lepidolite, used for the production of batteries for vehicles, cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices.
The EFCC said the Chinese man, the Managing Director of Sinuo Xinyang Nigeria Ltd, confessed to the crime.
Geng alongside his company were arraigned on one count amended charge before Justice Sani.
In court, the defendant pleaded guilty but entered “not guilty plea” for his company.
The charge said without lawful authority, Geng purchased 25 Tons of mineral worth N2,490,000 and conveyed it in a DAF Truck (Reg KLRAD85XCOE603462).
The offence violated Section 1 (8) (b) of Miscellaneous Offences Act 1984.
After presenting evidence, EFCC counsel Innocent Mbachie reviewed the facts and urged the court to deliver judgment accordingly.
Justice Sani took into consideration the allocutus made by Geng’s counsel, who pleaded for clemency on the grounds that the convict was a first offender.
The judge sentenced Geng to 5 years imprisonment with an option of N1million fine.
Sani ordered that the 25 tons of the mineral recovered from him be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The matter was adjourned till November 17, 2022 for hearing in the case of Sinuo Xinyang Nigeria Ltd.
Mining without a license is a criminal offence in Nigeria. The act of economic sabotage carries life imprisonment for offenders.