ICPC arraigns UK-based neurology professor, wife over alleged N233.6m fraud
– ICPC arraigned UK-based neurology professor and his wife over alleged N233.6m fraud
– The couple, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges
– The case was subsequently scheduled for May 30, 31 and June 1, 2018, for accelerated hearing
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has charged a United Kingdom-based Professor of Neurology, Reuben Oluwakinmilehin Obaro and his wife, Ayodele Olubunmi Obaro, to court for allegedly misappropriating N233.6 million belonging to the federal government.
A statement signed by the spokesperson for the commission, Rasheedat A. Okoduwa on Monday, May 28, said the suspects are facing eight charges before Justice A. O. Ebong of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory, Zuba, Channels TV reports.
gathered that the ICPC said they were charged for allegedly committing several offences including misleading officers of the commission, frustrating investigation and misappropriating funds meant for the establishment of a stroke centre in Nigeria being funded by the defunct Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
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According to the agency, the actions of the husband and wife violated Sections 25 (1) (a), 15 and 16 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and were punishable under the same sections.
It also noted that details of the case revealed that the couple had proposed to SURE-P the establishment of a specialised stroke centre for the management of the rising incidence of stroke among Nigerians to be run by them for the government.
“Using their company, Stephen James Healthcare Limited, they allegedly accessed a seed grant of N450 million in January 2015, from SURE-P for the construction and purchase of medical equipment for the centre to be known as Stephen James Stroke Centre for Excellence.
“However, N185 million out of that money they had received was purportedly used for the payment for a plot of land which documents revealed had been theirs since 2013.
“Further details show that the Obaros retrieved N37 million out of N57 million paid to a Lagos medical supplies company, JUNCI, for the supply of medical equipment to the centre for their personal use”.
The couple was also accused of colluding to embezzle N11.6 million of the SURE-P seed grant, which they used to procure a Toyota Prado jeep for their personal use.
One of the charges read: “That you, Obaro Reuben Oluwakinmilehin (Dr.) and Obaro Ayodele Olubunmi, (Mrs) and Stephen James Healthcare Limited sometime in September, 2016 or thereabouts at Abuja, being entrusted with the sum of N450 million being seed grant from SURE-P intervention funds for the strict use for the construction and equipping of a Stroke Centre, did commit criminal breach of trust by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of about N186 million out of N450 million given to you, strictly for construction and purchase of equipment for Stephen James Stroke Centre for Excellence, contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Code CAP 532 laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja 2006”.
The couple, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and their counsel J.M. Egwuonwu (SAN), urged the court to sustain their administrative bail.
Justice Ebong ruled for the stay of the administrative bail granted earlier to the accused persons by the ICPC.