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FG sues property developer over N11m electricity theft

The Federal Government has dragged a property developer, Cecil Osakwe before the Federal High Court, Abuja, over alleged N11 million electricity theft.

In the suit, the federal government accused Osakwe of tampering with electricity meters which resulted in the loss of N11 million revenue.

Osakwe was said to have been caught by the officials of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) allegedly stealing electricity at various properties including his residence, 11 Aso drive, Abuja.

According to AEDC officials, the scale of electricity theft by Osakwe at a number of other properties managed by him is still under investigation.

The charge sheet, signed by the Assistant Director in charge of Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Ali, accuses Osakwe of interfering with electricity supply – an offence contrary to Section 1(10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

The two-count charge dated August 2 reads in part:

“That you, Osakwe Cecil, sometime in September, 2021, at No 1, Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this court, unlawfully interfered with supply of electricity by converting same which led to the loss of revenue and that in naira value about N11, 000,000.00, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

“That you, Osakwe Cecil, at No 1, Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this court, unlawfully interfered with electricity fittings, metres and appliances knowing that you are converting supplying of electricity illegally, you thereby committed an offence contrary and punishable under Section 1(10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.”

Arraignment of the defendant in the suit, which is before Justice Binta Nyako, has been fixed for January 24, 2023.

Apart from the fresh charge of theft filed against him, Osakwe, who is the managing director of Abeh Signature Limited, is also facing another criminal charge of N130 million fraud before a High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory.

Osakwe had failed to appear before Justice Idris Mohammed of the FCT High Court for his arraignment on the grounds that he was not served with the charge.

At the last adjourned date, Justice Idris returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the FCT for reassignment.

The case has now been assigned to Justice Mohammed Madugu of the FCT High court, Bwari.

Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; Editing by Muzha Kucha and Tony Okerafor