Mr. Cecil Ezem Osakwe
By Our Reporter
The Federal Government on Monday, arraigned a property developer, Mr. Cecil Ezem Osakwe before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako.
Osakwe, Managing Director of Abeh Signature Ltd, was arraigned on a two-count charge over allegation of electricity theft.
In the charge signed by Baba Ali, a
Assistant Director, Prosecution, in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Osakwe was said to have interfered with electricity supply which resulted in loss of revenue to the Federal Government, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 1(10) of the miscellaneous offences Act.
Specifically, the charge dated 2nd of August, 2022 read: “That you, Osakwe Ezem Cecil, sometimes in the month of September 2021 at No 1, Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, unlawfully interfered with supply of electricity by converting same which led to the losses 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 Ezem Cecil, at No 1, Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, unlawfully interfered with electricity fittings, metres and appliances knowing and 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.
When the charge was read to him, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail by the court.
Justice Nyako granted him bail in the sum of N1m, warning that he must always appear in court for his trial. Justice Nyako threatened to revoke his bail, if he absents himself from trial.
Osakwe had through his counsel, Mr Victor Giwa, told the court that he had a motion seeking to stay arraignment of his client
Giwa drew the attention of the court to a pending suit challenging the legality of the panel that investigated Osakwe and appealed to the court for stay proceedings
But the court overruled him and asked that the charge be read to the defendant.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed May 2 for commencement of trial.
At the last adjourned date, Justice Nyako had threatened to issue a bench warrant, if Osakwe fails to appear in court for his arraignment.
On several ocassions, Osakwe had failed to appear in court for his arraignment, a development that made the court to threaten him with arrest should he fail to appear in court.
Apart from the instant charge of theft, Osakwe is also facing a criminal charge of N130m fraud before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
In that suit, he also failed to appear before Justice Idris Mohammed, for his arraignment, claiming he was not served with the charge sheet.
At the last adjourned date, Justice Idris returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the court, because the police claimed they were unable to serve him with the charges.
The case has been assigned to Justice Mohammed Madugu of the FCT High Court.