Oluwafemi Thomas, former executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged fraud.
Thomas, alongside Kabiru Sidi, a Bureau de Change operator, were arraigned on Friday before Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Both men were charged with amended seven counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2,198,900.00.
According to the EFCC Counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, the first defendant, Thomas, was alleged to have conspired with his wife, Funmi, to make a cash payment of $2,198,900.00 to one Ibitoye Bamidele at their residence on 20, Lagos University Teaching Hospital Road, Idi-Araba, Lagos.
The second defendant, Sidi, was also said to have lied to an EFCC investigator, Afeez Mustapha, that he was the owner of the money that the first defendant and his wife transacted with.
One of the counts read: “That you , Dr Martins Oluwafemi Thomas (a.k.a. Dr. Ike), a former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, and Mrs Femi Thomas (still at large ) on or about the 3rd of July 2015, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, procured Bamidele Ibitoye to remove from the Lagos jurisdiction the sum of $2,198, 900.00 ( Two Million One Hundred and Ninety-eight Thousand , Nine Hundred United States Dollars ) being proceeds of Dr Martins Oluwafemi’s unlawful enrichment as a former public officer and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 and punishable under Section 15(2) (c) and ( 3) of the Money laundering Prohibition Act, 2011( as amended by Act. No.1 of 2012).”
Another count read: “That you, Kabiru Sidi, on or about the 15th day of July, 2015, at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, made a false statement to Afeez Mustapha, an investigating officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 39 2(b)and punishable under Section 39 (2)(c)of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
Their lawyers thereafter asked the court to allow their clients to continue on the bail earlier granted when they were first arraigned in 2016 before Justice Saliu Saidu.
In his short ruling, Justice Faji granted the request on the existing bail and adjourned further proceedings till March 19, 20, and 21, for the continuation of trial.
He also ordered the prosecution to inform the Nigerian Immigration Service about the pendency of the case, especially as the defendants’ international passports have been deposited in court.