Medical doctor acquitted from graft charges

He pledged the doctors’ commitment to reducing the high maternal mortality rate in the country. Meanwhile, medical activities were paralysed yesterday at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.

An Enugu State High Court has discharged and acquitted a former Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Professor Martin Aghaji.

Aghaji was standing trial for allegedly demanding and receiving gratification in the course of discharging his official duties.Aghaji, who specializes in open-heart surgery, was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), following a petition it received and consequently slammed a four-count charge against him.   

The anti-graft agency said the charges against the medical expert as contained in the suit number E/37C/2010, bordered on administrative corruption; extortion and conferring corrupt advantages on himself.The commission said these offences violated Sections 8 and 19 and are punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

But the trial judge, Reuben Odugu, in his ruling, held: “It appears that the defendant is only a victim of politics of succession in UNTH, in the course of which a closed matter was resurrected by his adversaries not only to silence him but ostensibly to put him out of circulation and ruined his expert and distinguished career in medicine.

“I uphold the no case submission of learned counsel for the defendant as none of the ingredients and essential elements of asking for or receiving money from any person or using his office to confer a corrupt advantage on himself has not been proved by the prosecutor”.
“Consequently, the Defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted on all the four-count charges preferred against him by the ICPC as contained in the information dated the 1st day of March, 2003 and filed against him on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation. And I so ordered.”

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