BEDC records N750m revenue loss due to forceful takeover – MD

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By Usman Aliyu

Benin, Aug. 16, 2022 (NAN) The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc has claimed to have lost N750 million in the last one month due to what it described as illegal takeover of its operations.

Mrs Funke Osibudu, the Managing Director of BEDC, made the claim in Benin on Tuesday while addressing newsmen on her reported arrest by the Police over the leadership tussle in the company.

Naija247news reports that there had been controversy over a reported activation of the call on the collateralised shares of the BEDC by Fidelity Bank over alleged inability to repay loans obtained to acquire majority stakes in the DisCos in 2013.

Consequently, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, had on July 8, taken over the management of the electricity company as new managing director of the company.

But Osibudu said there was a Court order barring Ajagbawa and his group from taking over the BEDC, which made her to return to office.

She lamented, however, that in spite of the court’s order, Ajagbawa still brought police from Abuja to obstruct the company’s operation and intimidated her.

“We resumed last week because we have a court injunction against them and during the period of the forceful take over BEDC, we lost N750 million in collection in one month.

“The collection went down to zero and if you don’t have money, you can’t purchase power for distribution,” she said.

On her arrest by police from Abuja, the BEDC boss said she was taken to the police headquarters for questioning and that when the police discovered the law was on her side, they couldn’t do anything.

“The police who claimed they came from Abuja accused me of having committed fraud, threat to life of Ajagbawa (supposed MD, unlawful restrain and trespass).

“They took me to the police headquarters in Benin for questioning,” said managing director.

She explained, however, that when the police was showed the restraining court injunction of July 8, from Federal High Court, Abuja, against Ajagbawa and his group, the police couldn’t do anything.

“Till date I have not received any official document from the BPE (Bureau of Public Entreprise) or the BEDC board mandating anybody to take over the affairs from me but somebody just marched to the office and said, I have been asked to take over, this is not law.

“From the record, there is no official document, written to the board of BEDC that I have been removed.

“But what we see was in pages of newspaper that we have been removed and that is not how law works,” she said.

The managing director said she observed somebody was trying to use his office to suppress the rule of law.

This, she said, was because they didn’t succeed in the initial take over, but resorted to self help through any means.

She insisted the core investors in the BEDC, Vigeo Power, never pledged company shares, explaining that it was Vigeo Holdings Limited (VHL), a non-shareholder of company that obtained credit facilities from Stanbic IBTC Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc and Keystone Bank Plc.

Reacting to the development, the Commissioner of Police in Edo, Mr Abutu Yaro, acknowledged receipt of the police team from Abuja, but noted that the operatives, who invited her, were misinformed of the present condition of the issue. (NAN)