Friday, 29 June 2018

EFCC Re-arraigns Ex-NHIS Boss, Martins Thomas, For $2.1m Fraud



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Lagos Zonal office, on Thursday, June 28, 2018, re-arraigned Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas, a former Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, and one Kabiru Sidi, a Bureau De Change operator, before Justice A.O. Faji of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on an amended six-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2,198,900.00.

The first defendant, Thomas, was alleged to have conspired with his wife, Femi, 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 reads: “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 reads: “That you, Kabiru Sidi, on or about the 15th day of July, 2015, at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Lagos Zonal office, Ikoyi, before 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 pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
 In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Iheanacho Ekele, asked the court for a trial date.

However, counsel to the defendants prayed the court to allow their clients to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted them. 

 Consequently, Justice Faji ordered the Commission to verify the three years tax payment by the sureties, as stated in the bail conditions, within two weeks and adjourned to September 28, and October 5, 8, 11, 16 and 22, 2018 for commencement of trial.
The judge also granted the defendants their prayers to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted.

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