The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned five former officials of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Edo State.
The anti-graft agency disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement signed by its head of Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.
The doctors were brought before Justice Efe Ikponwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City on 21 counts of fraud, stealing, conspiracy to commit felony and false accounting.
They are Dr Emmanuel Ighodaro, Dr Anthony Owolabi, Dr Quincy Atoghengbe, Dr Raymond Ogieva, and Dr Oseremen Ogbebor.
The defendants were alleged to have conspired to commit felony, an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code CAP 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria as applicable to Edo State.
Particulars of one of the counts read: “Dr Emmanuel Ighodaro, Dr Anthony Owolabi, Dr Quincy Atoghengbe, Dr Raymond Ogieva and Dr Osaremen Gabriel Ogbebor, while acting in your capacities as officers of Nigeria Medical Association, Edo State Branch between 2013 and 2014, at Benin in Edo State within the jurisdiction of this court conspired to omit UBA Account No. 1010712142, a material particular in the Audit Report for the year, 1st August, 2013 – 31st July, 2014 of the association and thereby committed an offence.”
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
Soon after taking their plea, counsel to four of the defendants, I. E. Imadegbelo, told the court that he had a pending application for bail for the defendants and pleaded with the court to grant them bail.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that the defendants were granted administrative bail by the EFCC and that they have adhered to the terms of the bail.
Counsel to the prosecution, Ben Ubi, did not oppose the motion but prayed the court to fix a date for trial.
Justice Ikponwonba granted each of the defendants a bail in the sum of N1million and a surety in like sum.
He also held that the surety must be a responsible Nigerian and must provide evidence of tax payment.
The case was consequently adjourned till February 20, 2018, for the commencement of trial.