$2.2m Fraud: Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-NHIS Boss

A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday, adjourned the continuation of the trial of a former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Oluwafemi Thomas until May 15 and May 16.

Thomas is standing trial alongside a Bureaux de Change operator, Kabiru Sidi, on four counts bordering on $2.2 million money laundering

They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and were first arraigned in 2016, before Justice Saliu Saidu.

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They had each pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail.

The case was, however, re-assigned to Justice Ayokunle Faji after Saidu was transferred from the Lagos division of the court.

The trial has since commenced in the suit and the defence had opened its case and still giving evidence in court

When the case was called on Monday, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, appeared for the prosecution while Mr O. Gbolahan appeared for the first defendant.

The second defendant, however, informed the court of the absence of his counsel on the grounds of ill health.

On his part, the prosecutor expressed dissatisfaction with the situation, adding that he had come in from Abuja last week hoping to take this case.

He, however, said that in the circumstance, he would accept an adjournment

While noting that the second defendant was entitled to be represented by a counsel, the court also noted that the defendant had narrated to the court his efforts to secure a counsel.

The court consequently, adjourned the case until May 15 and 16 and urged the defendant to ensure he is present in court with his counsel on the next date

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the charge against the defendants has been amended several times, with the defendants taking fresh pleas on each amendment.