The Bénin Electricity Distribution Company Plc (BEDC) has dismissed allegation that it bribed lawmakers in the Edo State House of Assembly with N100 million for the bill criminalizing electricity theft to be passed.
In a chat with The Witness, managing director and chief executive officer of BEDC, Mrs. Olufunke Iyabo Osibodu said Edo State House of Assembly only followed what Ekiti State did in domesticating and existing federal law which prescribed 21 years for anyone caught stealing electricity. Osibodu further stressed that the bill was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
“We cannot possibly bribe the house. They followed what Ekiti did in domesticating and existing federal law. Ekiti State is also under our jurisdiction,” she stated.
The bill waiting for the assent of Governor Godwin Obaseki stipulated three years jail term for anybody that engaged in electricity theft. It also prescribed a special court for electricity consumers in the who bypass and engage in illegal connection.
The Edo State Civil Society Organizations (EDOSCO) had accused BEDC management team led by Osibodu to have compromised the Edo State House of Assembly members to make the law to prohibit electricity theft and other related offences making it an offence to illegally tap or make any connection with overhead, underground or under water lines or cables, tempering with metres as well as install or use tempered metres current reversing transformer, etc.
The group had further alleged that the lawmakers failed to make a law that criminalises estimated and outrageous bills allegedly issued by BEDC because they have been bribed by the Osibodu led management of BEDC.
BEDC is a power distribution company responsible for retail distribution of electricity in Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo States.