Corrupt enrichment : Five accused persons plead not guilty
The Provost of the Federal School of Medical Laboratory Technology, Jos, Plateau State, Dr. Sunday Etukudoh and four others arraigned before a Jos High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) all pleaded not guilty when the 16 count charge was read to them. The anti – graft body had charged them to court for corruptly enriching themselves to the tune of about N17 million.
The judge, Mr. Justice Yakubu Dakwak, painstakingly took time to read all the 16 counts to the accused persons one after the other where they all pleaded not guilty.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Solomon Umoh, and other five lawyers from his chambers appeared for the fifth accused, Hon. Esio Udoh, a contractor with the school. Other three accused persons are Yusuf Samuel (Bursar and Chief Accountant of the School), Ernest Demtoe (Data Analyst) and Goodluck Echenwa also a contractor.
In addition, all the five were arraigned for conspiracy and embezzlement of public funds in their care as office holders of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Okeleke, after the accused had taken pleas of not guilty, said in view of all the accused pleaded not guilty, he respectfully appealed to the court to grant an adjournment for proper trial to commence.
This appeal was also not opposed to by other parties. Barrister Uche is counsel to Etukudoh, Goodluck Echenwa and Ernest Demtoe. Justice Dakwak, who passionately considered Okeleke’s appeal, then adjourned the matter to July 27.
The embattled provost who was recently released on bail from prison custody in Jos where he had been in detention for two weeks, is said to be battling the management, staff and students of the institution to return him for a third tenure as provost of the school.
The staff and students who addressed press conference penultimate Tuesday in protest against Etukudoh’s plan for a new tenure after he had already spent 10 years, said the Federal Government of Nigeria Official Gazette No 89 dated 11th October, 2012 Vol. 89, is clear on the tenure of provost of the school, stressing that no individual is allowed more than two tenures of four years each.