Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:15 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
Former commissioner for Health in Ekiti state,Dr. Femi Thomas,who was once
Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS was today arraigned before a Federal High Court Ikoyi South West Nigeria, over an alleged payment of $2.2million Dollars without going through financial institution
Arraigned alongside the former commissioner is a Bureau de change operator Kabiru Sidi.
According to the four count criminal charge number FHC/L/457C/2015 filed before the court by the Nigeria anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission prosecutor,A B C Ozioko,it was alleged that Dr Femi Thomas a .k .a Doctor Ike and Mrs Femi Thomas now at large on or about July 3, 2015, at House 20, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, compound, Idi-Araba, conspired among themselves to make and accept $2.2 million which exceeded N5 million, as stipulated by the law.
The accused former commissioner and Mrs Femi Thomas were also alleged to have made a cash payment of $2.2 million, to one Mr. Ibitoye John Bamidele, without going through any financial institutions.
In count four of the criminal charge, the Bureau De Change operator, Sidi, was alleged to have on July 15, 2015, at the Ikoyi office of EFCC, made a false statement to one Afeez Mustapha, an investigating Officer with the Commission, that he was the owner of the said $2.2 million.
The offences alleged to have been committed by the accused persons are contrary to sections 18 (2)(b): 1(a) and 39(2)(b) and punishable under sections 16(2)(b) and Section 39 (2)(c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.
The two accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. Upon the plea of the accused persons’ the EFCC prosecutor urged the court to remand them in prison custody and give a trial date.
However, lawyers to the accused persons, by Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN, and Abiodun Ogundare told the court that they have filed an application for bail for the two accused persons. They urged the court to admit the accused persons to bail, with Dr Femi Thomas being admitted to bail on self- recognisance and that the second accused person be admitted to bail on liberal terms.
Justice Saliu Saidu admitted Dr Femi Thomas to bail bail in the sum of N25 million with two sureties. One of the sureties must be a Grade Level 15 officer in Federal of Lagos State Ministry, while the other surety must be a landed property owner within Lagos State.
The Bureau De Change operator was admitted to bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties.
One of the sureties must be a Grade Level 12 officer in Federal or Lagos State ministry, while the second surety must be a landed property owner within Lagos State.
The judge also ordered that the two sureties must depose to affidavit of means and submit their passport photographs,while the two accused persons must deposit their international passports with the Register of the court
Justice Saidu,while adjoining the case till 12 May for trial ordered that the two accused persons be remanded in Ikoyi prison pending the time they are able to perfect their bail conditions.
Thomas is a consultant clinical Pathologist.
The $2.2 million dollars for which Thomas is being charged with was seized from a Bureau de change operator, Ibiteye Bamidele at the Lagos Airport last year August. The actual amount was $2,198,900.
Mr. Bamidele named the NHIS boss as the owner of the cash. He was later handed over to the EFCC on July 8, for further investigation.
Kuponiyi can be reached @:
*Story Updated: There is another Dr Femi Thomas who was confused with the subject here.
We got this rejoinder on Wednesday that urged us to make the correction:
I write to correct your error in the above report.
Femi Thomas above that was arraigned yesterday is not same Dr Thomas whose wife died. They are 2 different people.
His own wife is the Mrs Thomas that is at large. His wife is a nurse with LUTH. She is presently out of the country.
On the other hand, Dr Thomas whose wife died works with Lagos State.
Please correct this error.