A Bwari Chief Magistrates’ Court, Abuja, on Tuesday admitted a 31-year-old business man, Anya Ifeanyi and Emmanuel Idoko, 32, bail in the sum of N100,000, for alleged electricity theft.
In her ruling after their arraignment, the Chief Magistrate, Mrs Akanni Idayat-Olaide, ordered the defendant to produce a reliable surety each, in like sum.
Idayat-Olaide adjourned the case until July 26 for hearing.
The defendants, both residents of Bwari, were arraigned by the Police on a two-count-charge of joint act and theft.
They, however, pleaded not guilty after the charges were read out to them.
According to the prosecutor, the matter was reported at the Bwari Divisional Police Station by Micheal Okon, a staff of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), on July 10 at 6p.m.
It was alleged in the charge sheet that the defendants conspired and by-passed the AEDC prepaid metre which Ifeanyi, was illegally using in his office, located opposite Bwari market.
Both defendants, it stated, had reason to believe that by so doing, they have caused wrongful loss to AEDC and caused wrongful gain to themselves.
The charge added that during investigation, Ifeanyi confessed to the crime, an offence which contravened Section 79 and 286 of the Penal Code.
The Prosecutor, Mrs Agnes Adewunmi-Aluko, Senior State Counsel, however asked the court to adjourn the matter in order to begin trial against both suspects.
Also, the defence counsel, Mr S. Emmanuel, who did not object to the application by the prosecution, also applied to the court to admit the defendants to bail according to sections 158, 162,163 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
He added that even though admitting the suspects to bail was at the discretion of the court, he stated that credible sureties will ensure that both defendants make themselves available from beginning to the end of the trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that electricity theft is also an offence contrary to section 1 (10) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014 and punishable under the same Section.
NAN also reports that in May, 2017, the AEDC Plc and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Federation signed an agreement for a partnership to fight electricity theft within AEDC’s area of operations.
This followed the approval of a special task force for investigation and prosecution of electricity theft cases under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. (NAN)