Ex-NHIS chief to court: I’ve no case to answer

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A former National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Executive Secretary Dr Femi Thomas has made a no-case submission in his criminal trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned him on March 15, 2016. He pleaded not guilty.

It alleged that the former Commissioner for Health in Ekiti State conspired with his wife, Funmi, to make cash payment of $2.2million to
Mr Ibitoye John Bamidele without going through a financial institution.

Thomas, along with a Bureau De Change operator Kabiru Sidi, was re-arraigned before Justice Ayokunle Faji on March 8.

Sidi was charged for allegedly lying to an EFCC investigator, Afeez Mustapha, that he was the owner of the $2.2million.

EFCC alleged that Thomas and his wife, on or about July 3, 2015, at House 20, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) compound in Idi-Araba, conspired to accept $2.2 million in cash, which exceeded the N5million limit stipulated by law.

Prosecuting counsel Ekene Iheanacho said the defendants acted contrary to sections 18(2)(b), 1(a) and 39(2)(b) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004.

Iheanacho said they were liable to be punished under sections 16(2)(b) and 39 (2)(c) of the same Act.
EFCC closed its case after calling its witnesses.

However, rather than open his defence, the defendants filed a no-case application.

They are praying the court to discharge and acquit them because the prosecution did not make out a prima facie case against them.

But, Iheanacho urged the court to dismiss the application for lacking in merit.

According to him, the prosecution provided substantial evidence through witness testimonies and documents to warrant the defendants opening their defence.

Justice Faji adjourned until October 11 for adoption of written addresses on the no-case submission.

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