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Nigerian and UK-based doctor sues ICPC for malicious trial

ICPC Headquarters, Abuja
ICPC Headquarter, Abuja (Photo Credit: Nigeria Guardian)

Reuben Obaro, a medical doctor based in the United Kingdom, and his wife, Ayodele Obaro, have sued the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for wrongful trial on corruption.

The ICPC had arraigned the couple before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on an eight-count charge bordering on corruption and misappropriation but were later discharged and acquitted by the court.

On Tuesday, when the matter was called at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed May 25 for mention of the suit.

Ms. Ojukwu fixed the date following confirmation that the fifth defendant in the matter, the police, had not been served with the court processes.

Joachim Amupitan (SAN), the plaintiffs’ counsel, informed the court that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and three other defendants were served with a writ of summons and other processes on February 24.

The lawyer, however, said the fifth defendant had not been served. 

The judge then drew Mr. Amupitan’s attention to the fact that the writ of summons was issued on December 17, 2020, and would become invalid if not served by March 17 as stipulated by law.

The ICPC had in 2018 arraigned the couple for misappropriating N186 million out of N450 million seed grant given to them by the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (Sure-P) in support of a hospital project.

The anti-graft agency called five witnesses, tendered documents, and closed its case prompting the defendants to file a no-case submission.

While delivering the ruling in the no-case submission argued by the couple, the court held that the eight-count charge was unfounded and could not be established against the defendants as required by law.

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The judge held that the ICPC failed to prove conspiracy, misappropriation, and giving false information against the two medical personnel beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge held that the conspiracy charge against Mrs. Obaro and the Stephen James Stroke Centre could not stand in the face of the law.

He said this was because the hospital was an artificial body with no mind of its own and could not conspire with a human being to commit fraud.

Also, the court noted that the ICPC and its witnesses failed to tender documents to establish their allegations.

It also dismissed an allegation that Mrs. Obaro purchased a Prado Jeep from the seed grant, adding that the bank statement tendered by ICPC showed that the couple had personal funds in the said bank account.

The court held that the evidence of the five witnesses of the ICPC was unreliable.

NAN

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