Five medical doctors being accused of stealing, among other counts, were arraigned before Justice Efe Ikponwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
They defendants are Dr. Emmanuel Ighodaro, Dr. Anthony Owolabi, Dr. Quincy Atoghengbe, Dr. Raymond Ogieva and Dr. Oseremen Gabriel Ogbebor. According to the prosecuting authority-the EFCC-the defendants are former officials of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Edo State Branch, facing a 21-count charge of fraud, stealing, conspiracy to commit felony and false accounting.
The defendants reportedly conspired, between 2013 and 2014, 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”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge following which their counsel notified the court of their pending bail application.
The counsel to four among the five doctors, I. E. Imadegbelo, a senior advocate, said his clients had already been given administrative bail by the EFCC and that they have adhered to the terms of the bail. Ben Ubi, the prosecuting counsel, did not opposed the bail 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.