Court dismisses N358m fraud case against Jonathan’s physician

February 13th, 2018

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Tuesday dismissed the six-count charge of fraud and corrupt practices filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Dr. Fortune Fiberesima.

Fiberesima was the chief physician to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The charges bordered on abuse of office and award of contracts valued at N358.9 million and N36.9 million, respectively to a company where Fiberesima had interests.

The contracts were for the reclamation of land at the State House Medical Centre for N358.9 million and supply of medical consumables at N36. 9million.

The EFCC had said that the offences contravened sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

But Justice Peter Affen, in his ruling on the defendant’s no case submission, held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

Affen said that the charges against the defendant were that he abused his office as a public servant and awarded contracts to companies he had interest in.

He held that the prosecution did not establish the essential ingredients of the element of the offences he was charged.

He held that the testimony of the prosecution’s first and second witnesses affirmed that the defendant did not play any role in the award of the said contracts.

Affen said: “Mere suspicion alone without concrete evidence is not enough to prefer a charge against a defendant. There was no evidence before the court showing the defendant’s appointment letter from the Civil Service Commission or anyone to demonstrate that he was a public servant.

“A political appointment is not the same as a civil servant. I hereby discharge the defendant of all offences in the six-count charges.”

Fiberesima’s counsel, Mr. Granville Alibo (SAN), had filed a no case submission after the prosecution called five witnesses and closed their case.

Alibo had told the court that there was no degree of proof that the defendant was a public or civil servant where the provision of extant laws and rules applies.

But, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Mukhatar Ahmed, urged the court to set aside the no case submission and order the defendant to open his defence.

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