Muscat: The Muscat Criminal Court has sentenced 25 men for smuggling diesel to five years in prison and fined them 4,639,056 Omani riyals, according to a Public Prosecution press release.
The court also gave each accused an additional three-year prison term for the second charge after the court found them guilty of stealing diesel worth 1,546,302 riyals.
The court also ordered the convicts to return the money equivalent to the diesel they had stolen. The Department of Public Funds Crimes (DPFC) had received a report from an oil company which suspected that someone had been in the process of stealing diesel.
The DPFC handed over the case to the Royal Oman Police (ROP) to probe the matter. After two weeks of investigation the ROP sleuths found out that the diesel thefts had become a daily routine.
The result of the investigation was referred to the Public Prosecution who ordered search operation at the locations where the diesel was sold and the defendants were arrested after the police cracked down on all the spots where the criminals used to sell the stolen diesel.
The police team found out that the miscreants had stored the diesel in underground tanks and pumped the diesel into barrels which they sold. The police seized the items used in the crime along with cash and wrote a detailed report of the daily quantities of the diesel stolen and sold.
When the defendants were questioned at the Public Prosecution they admitted to the crime and explained how they carried out the operation, according to a spokesman for the public prosecution.
They confessed that they agreed with the drivers of the diesel fuel tankers to sell part of their consignment after leaving the Mina Al Fahal Refinery in Qurum suburb of Muscat.