…I’m not guilty-doctor pleads
By Soni Daniel
More trouble has continued to come the way of officials who worked with former President Goodluck Jonathan as his former Chief Physician, Dr. Fortunate Fiberesima, was yesterday arraigned before Justice Peter Affren of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on a 6-count charge of money laundering.
According to the EFCC charge sheet, Dr. Fortunate Fiberesima, a former Chief Executive Officer, State House Medical Centre, Abuja, allegedly used his position as the Chief Physician to the President to award a contract for the supply of medical equipment in 2012 valued at N258.9 million to a company in which he had interest.
The defendant, who is said to also go by the name of Fortunate David and David Thank God Fiberesima, was initially meant to be docked by the EFCC on March 7, when the trial judge observed that, “all the charges preferred against him were under the ICPC Act not that of the EFCC” and consequently ordered that the charges be either amended or transferred to the appropriate authority for prosecution.
However, at the resumed sitting on Tuesday, the defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him by the EFCC.
Count one of the charge reads:
“That you , Dr Fortunate Fiberesima (a.k.a Fortunate David and David Thank God Fiberesima), being the Former Chief Executive Office of the state House Medical Centre, Abuja and Chief Physician to the President and while employed in the public service, sometime in 2012, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly and directly held a private interest in the contract for land reclamation at the State House Medical Centre, Abuja in the sum of N258,950,000.00), which contract was awarded to T. E & C Limited, a company in which you were a director, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
But Counsel to the defendant, U. B. Eyo, prayed to the court to grant his client bail on Liberal terms. He added that the accused has no previous criminal record and he would always be available for trial.
Y. Y. Tarfa, counsel to EFCC, did not oppose the bail application.
Justice Affen ordered that the defendant should continue on the bail conditions earlier granted him by the EFCC, but ordered that the defendant should submit his international passport to the court registrar and the case to June 6, 2017 for the commencement of trial.