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EFCC arraigns 5 persons for allegedly diverting $4 million health fund

EFCC arraigns 5 persons for allegedly diverting $4 million health fund

- The EFCC has arraigned five persons for allegedly diverting $4 million donated to Nigeria to aid in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

- The accused persons pled not guilty to the charges and were subsequently granted bail to the tune of N1 million each

- The money allegedly stolen was also meant to ensure the establishment of a National Health Information System

Five persons have been docked before an Abuja high court sitting at Maitama, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged complicity in the fraudulent diversion of about $4 million of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Nigeria.

The defendants who were identified as Zubairu Ibrahim, Faturiti Jacob, Azeez Aderemi and Abimbola Abioye, were arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, forgery and embezzlement of a grant handed to Nigeria by a Geneva-based agency, Vanguard reports.

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Legit.ng gathers that the accused persons, appearing before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, however pled not guilty to the charges and were subsequently granted bail to the tune of N1 million each, with surety in like sum. Their passports were also seized.

The presiding judge adjourned the case till October 11 for trial.

Following the diversion of about $3.8 million allegedly stolen by workers and consultants, the Global Fund had in March 2016, suspended payments to Nigeria’s AIDS agency.

In a petition sent to the EFCC, the fund alleged that “during a recent routine check by the Office of the Inspector General, Global Fund, it was discovered that from 2010 to 2014, the suspects who are employees of Department of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS), Federal Ministry of Health, conspired among themselves to receive and systematically embezzle the amount through the use of fictitious invoices, receipts of hotel stays, air flight tickets and other instruments to access and divert the fund for their own personal gains.”

The money allegedly stolen was also meant to ensure the establishment of a National Health Information System, which could have aided delivery of quality healthcare services in Nigeria.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stated that the recent convictions it secured against two former governors showed that it is not partisan as alleged by some Nigerians.

The anti-graft agency’s assertion came against the background of the sentencing of ex-Taraba state governor, Jolly Nyame, and that of ex-Plateau state governor, Joshua Dariye, to jail.

Both men were sentenced to 14 year jail terms respectively for misappropriating funds belonging to their states.

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Source: Legit.ng

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