Symbol of justice
The Director, General Services of CITEC Estate International Ltd, Mr. Jinadu Nurudeen has been arraigned before a Karu Chief Magistrate Court in Abuja over alleged N46 meter fraud.
His arraignment followed the conclusion of investigation into an alleged criminal breach of trust and violation of provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005 reported to against the firm by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The court had issued a bench warrant for Nurudeen’s arrest after it was informed that officials of the estate indicted in the criminal breach of trust refused to honour a court summon issued to them.
Addressing the court, prosecuting counsel, Sgt. Samuel Bulus, asked the court to grant a speedy hearing on the case in view of the outcome of investigations, which suggests that the accused may have indulged in economic sabotage in breach of provisions of the EPSR Act 2005, an offence punishable under the Nigeria Penal Code.
Bulus argued that gestures of respect shown by the police on the fundamental human rights of the accused had been severally abused with his refusal to respond to invitations for questioning extended to him. The police officer said it took the bench warrant of his arrest issued by the court before the accused showed up in court.
But the defence counsel, E. Ibegbuna, prayed the court to slow down the tempo of proceedings, stating that the prosecutor had not followed duly recognised statutory procedure in his prosecution of the accused.
He explained that the first accused cannot be tried separately in view of the fact that the alleged crime was collectively committed and as such application for a joint trial of the accused with others indicted in the case should be granted by the court, otherwise it would amount to hasty judgment.
Having considered arguments put before it, the court adjourned the case for further hearing on October 16, 2012.
In May 2012, NERC was informed about the illegal collection of about N46 million from residents of CITEC for the purchase and installation of individual pre-paid meters in the estate. An enforcement action was carried out, resulting in the arrest of the management of the estate.
The Commission’s investigation into the allegation revealed that CITEC demanded and illegally collected N40,000 and N60,000 respectively, totalling N46 million from tenants for the purchase and installation of individual pre-paid meters and for which they do not have powers to do under the Act.