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EFCC Arraigns Insurance Broker for Diverting N26bn PHCN Pension

Abiodun Waheed Hassan, an insurance broker, alongside his firm, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited was arraigned on Thursday on a five-count charge of misappropriating over N26 billion pension fund.

Hassan was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja.

Abiodun allegedly diverted into private accounts the money meant for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

The insurance broker in count one of the charge diverted N26 billion paid into the insurance firm account into another bank account.

“That you, Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited on or about 15th January 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00 paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N2,500,000,000.00, thereof when you transferred the said sum into Kakatar CE Limited’s Zenith Bank Account No.1012637660 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.”

Count five of the charge also alleged that Abiodun misappropriated six billion naira.

“That you , Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited on or about 18th December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00 (Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-six Naira only) paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N6,000,000,000.00( Six Billion Naira only) thereof when you transferred the said sum into PJO Venture Limited’s Skye Bank Account No.1771645235 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

EFCC counsel, Benjamin Lawan Menji prayed the court for a trial date.

He also asked the court to remand Abiodun at a correctional centre pending the trial.

Abiodun’s counsel, Adeolu Salako, however, prayed the court that his client be remanded in EFCC custody pending a bail application which he filed earlier.

The legal counsel said Abiodun has been on administrative bail for almost five years and he has an underlining sickness.

The presiding Judge, Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021, for hearing on the bail application and remanded the defendant in EFCC custody.

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