Dr. Femi Thomas, a former Commissioner for Health in Ekiti State, and one-time Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), was today arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged payment of $2.2million outside existing regulations.
Arraigned alongside Dr. Thomas by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is a Bureau de Change operator, Kabiru Sidi.
EFCC prosecutor ABC Ozioko alleged that Dr. Thomas (aka Doctor Ike), along with Mrs. Femi Thomas, now at large, on or about July 3, 2015, at House 20, Lagos University Teaching Hospital compound in Idi-Araba, conspired among themselves to make and accept the sum of $2.2 million, which exceeded the N5 million limit stipulated by law.
The two 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, Bureau De Change operator Sidi was alleged to have, on July 15, 2015, at the Ikoyi Office of the 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, and the EFCC prosecutor urged the court to remand them in prison custody and give a trial date.
Defence lawyers Joseph Nwobike and Abiodun Ogundare however notified the court that they have filed an application for bail for the suspects, and urged the court to grant bail to Dr. Thomas on self- recognisance, and Mrs. Thomas on liberal terms.
Justice Saliu Saidu granted bail to Dr. Thomas in the sum of N25 million with two sureties. One of the sureties, he determined, must be a Grade Level 15 officer in the Federal of Lagos State Ministry, while the other must be a landed property owner within Lagos State.
Mr. Sidi was admitted to bail in the sum of N10 million, also with two sureties, one of whom must be a Grade Level 12 officer in a Federal or Lagos State ministry, while the second must be a landed property owner within Lagos State.
The judge also ordered that the two sureties must depose to an affidavit of means and submit their passport photographs, while the two accused persons must deposit their international passports with the Registrar of the court.
Adjoining the case until 12 May for trial, Justice Saidu ordered that the two accused persons be remanded in prison custody pending the time they are able to perfect their bail conditions.