The suspects comprising 10 Indians, three Ghanaians and 10 Nigerians pleaded not guilty after the charge was read in English and interpreted in Hindi to the Indian nationals.
The Defence Counsel, Mr. Femi Adegbite, subsequently drew the attention of the court to a bail application earlier filed before the court but Justice Archibong refused to consider the application on the ground that the immigration status of the Indian nationals was yet to be established.
According to him, the immigration status of the accused persons is crucial to determining their bail application.
The suspects who were arrested by the Central Naval Command, Yenegoa aboard two ships, MT EVE and MT AKSHAY were handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
At point of arrest, the ship MT EVE was carrying about seventy five thousand (75,000) litres of AGO and the captain of the ship could neither explain the source or the loading point or platform of the product
The case has been adjourned to the 19th February, 2013 for hearing and consideration of their bail applications.