EFCC Explains How Woman Used ‘N6bn PHCN Workers Money’ To Buy Houses In Lekki

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Friday, arraigned the Managing Director of PJO Ventures, Cecilia Osipitan, before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a nine-count charge bordering on alleged diversion of about N6 billion meant for workers of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

She was accused of using the monies to, among other things, acquire houses across Nigeria.

Part of the charges read against her before presiding judge Inyang Ekwo are as follows.

“That you, CECILIA OSIPITAN being Managing Director of PJO Ventures Limited and PJO Ventures Limited, sometime in the year 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, used the sum of N15, 800,000.00 only out of the N6,000,000,000.00 (Six Billion Naira) only transferred to PJO Ventures Limited’s Shye Bank Account No. 1771645235 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 being part of the funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to acquire a property known as 3 Bedroom Flat, Block H5 Flat 9, at Richards Court, Lekki, Lagos from Lekki Gardens Estates Limited, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; Criminal Breach of Trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (As amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you, CECILIA OSIPITAN being Managing Director of PJO Ventures Limited and PJO Ventures Limited on or about the 18” day of December, 2014, m Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took possession of the sum of N6, 000,000,000.00 (Six Billion Naira) only paid into PJO Ventures Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645235 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 being part of the funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; Criminal Breach of Trust and thereby commutted an otfence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (As amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you, CECILIA OSIPITAN being Managing Director of PJO Ventures Limited and PJO Ventures Limited on or about the 18° day of December, 2014, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did convert the sum of N5, 120,578,766.85 (Five Billion One Hundred and Twenty Million Five Hundred and Seventy Eight Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Six Naira Eighty Five Kobo) Only paid into PJO Ventures Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645235 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 being part of the funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; Criminal Breach of Trust and thereby commutted an offence contrary to section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (As amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

But Osipitan pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Subsequently, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, who represented the woman, sought Ekwo’s discretion to grant her bail.

Though it was opposed by the prosecution, the judge granted her bail in the sum of N200 million but noted that she must provide a surety who owned properties worth the amount.

He also restricted Osipitan from traveling till her trial was concluded.

Ekwo then adjourned to May 24, May 25 and May 26 for trial.

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