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Alleged $2.2m fraud: Court adjourns trial of ex-NHIS boss



 Alleged 2 2m fraud Court adjourns trial of ex NHIS boss
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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday adjourned untill May 15 and May 16 the continuation in the trial of a former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Oluwafemi Thomas.

Mr Thomas is standing trial alongside a bureau de change operator Kabiru Sidi, on a four counts charge bordering on 2.2 million dollars money laundering.

The are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, c, and were first arraigned in 2016, before Justice Saliu Saidu.

They had each pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail.

READ ALSO: Atiku gives appointment to ex-NHIS boss, Prof Yusuf

The case was however, re-assigned to Justice Ayokunle Faji, after Saidu was transferred from the Lagos division of the court.

Trial has since commenced in the suit and the defence had opened its case and still giving evidence in court.

When the case was called on Monday, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, appeared for the prosecution while Mr O. Gbolahan appeared fro the first defendant.

The second defendant, however, informed the court of the absence of his counsel, on the grounds of ill health

On his part, the prosecutor expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, adding that he had come in from Abuja since last week hoping to take this case.

He, however, said that in the circumstance, he would accept an adjournment.

While noting that the second defendant was entitled to be represented by a counsel, the court also noted that the defendant had narrated to the court his efforts to secure a counsel.

The court consequently, adjourned the case until May 15 and 16 and urged the defendant to ensure he be present in court with his counsel on the next date

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the charge against the defendants has been amended severally, with the defendants taking fresh pleas on each amendment.

They were re-arraigned on March 6, 2019

The prosecution closed its case in January 2020 , after calling six witnesses and tendering 26 exhibits

The defence on their part filed a no case submission arguing that the prosecution had not made out any prima facie case against them to warrant them to open their defence.

Meanwhile, the no-case submission filed by defence failed, as Justice Faji on March 13, 2020, dismissed their application and ordered the defence to open its case

An appeal against the ruling of the trial court also failed at the appellate court which delivered judgement on Sept. 30, 2021.

The defence was thus asked to open its case, which is now ongoing.



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