The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday arraigned five employees of the ministry of health for an alleged $4 million fraud.
Abimbola Abioye, Wuraola Adebayo, Zubairu Ibrahim, Faturiti Jacob and Azeez Aderemi, were arraigned before O.O. Goodluck, a judge of the federal capital territory (FCT) high court, Maitama.
The defendants are said to be facing a six-count charge for “criminal conspiracy, forgery and embezzlement” of a grant granted by The Global Fund, a Geneva-based donor agency.
The grant was meant to be channeled towards the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as to set up a National Health Information System in the country.
The agency had in 2016 suspended its allocation to the health ministry over alleged diversion of about $3.8 million uncovered at the Department of Health Planning, Research & Statistics (DPRS).
Following the suspension, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the EFCC to probe the alleged misappropriation of grants by three agencies under the health ministry.
“The suspects, employees of Dept of Planning, Research & Statistics, @Fmohnigeria, allegedly conspired among themselves to receive & systematically embezzle the sum amount through the use of fictitious invoices, receipts of hotel stays, air flight tickets and other instruments,” a tweet from the presidency read.
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, after which they were granted bail in the sum of N1 million each and one surety each in like sum.
They were also ordered to submit their international passports to the court.
The case was adjourned till October 11, 17, 23 and 24, 2018, for the commencement of trial.