5 medical doctors, who are also former officials of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Edo State Branch, were yesterday, Wednesday, January 31, 2018 arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 21-count charge of fraud, stealing, conspiracy to commit felony and false.
The defendants were arraigned before Justice Efe Ikponwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
The 5 medical doctors are Dr. Emmanuel Ighodaro, Dr. Anthony Owolabi, Dr. Quincy Atoghengbe, Dr. Raymond Ogieva and Dr. Oseremen Gabriel Ogbebor.
They were alleged to have conspired to commit felony, 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, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, told the court that he had a pending application for bail for the defendants and pleaded with the court to grant them bail.
He noted 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 bail in the sum of N1million and a surety in like sum. The surety must be a responsible Nigerian and must provide evidence of tax payment.
The case was adjourned to February 20, 2018 for the commencement of trial.