THE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Thursday says Martins Ugwu, a fake medical doctor who fraudulently raked N17.2 million as salaries and allowances from the Federal Ministry of Health from 2006 and 2016, has temporarily escaped prosecution.
He was scheduled to appear before Justice Abubakar Kutigi at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Gwagwalada, Abuja in an on-going trial for alleged impersonation as a medical practitioner but the trial was stalled due to his absence in court.
Until his arrest, he was a top official of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“When we looked at our archives, we discovered there is actually somebody that bears the name Dr. George Davidson Daniel but the picture is not the same as was sent to us,” lead investigator Dr. Henry Okwuokenye had stated.
“The actual person that bears that name is a doctor doing his residency at teaching hospital in Jos.”
However, according to a statement by Rasheedat Okoduwa, Spokesperson of the ICPC, the accused person is currently being remanded at the Keffi Prisons over another crime.
Ugwu is accused of impersonating a certain Dr. George Daniel Davidson to gain employment into the Federal Civil Service (FCS), an offense said to have contravened Section 25 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 25 (1) (b) of the same act.
Moreover, the commission, in February 2016, filed a 7-count charge before Justice Kutigi, against Ugwu, for allegedly making false statement to the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, through which he secured the false employment into the health ministry, in 2006.
“Ugwu allegedly used the fake documents to procure a staff identity card bearing the name of Dr. George Daniel Davidson, apply for annual leave as well as a post-graduate training programme which would have conferred on him, a Masters degree in the Field of Epidemiology Practice,” the statement read.
However, when the case was raised for trial at the court, David Ajaba, the defense counsel claimed not to know his whereabouts since 6th October. He pleaded for an adjournment in order to meet with the accused persons and present him in court but he was reminded of his detainment at Keffi prison.
In his submission, Ekoi Akponimisingha, Counsel to the ICPC, told the court to issue a ‘production warrant’ for the defense counsel to provide the accused in court.
However, Justice Kutigi adjourned the matter to 22nd January 2020.
He said this would enable the defense counsel to meet with the accused, stressing that the adjournment became vital as Ugwu also has the right to fair hearing as provided by the constitution.