Witness Reveals How FSMLT Provost, Etukudo, Accomplices Mismanaged 359m
The trial of the Provost of Federal School of Medical Laboratory Technology, FSMLT, Jos, Plateau State, Dr. Nkereuwem Sunday Etukudo and four others over their alleged complicity in the diversion of funds to the tune of N359million continued on Thursday, February 22, 2018 before Justice D.D.Longi of the Plateau State High Court, Jos.
Others are Yusuf Samuel, Accountant, FSMLT; Ernest Demtoe, Secretary of Tenders Board, FSMLT; Goodluck Echewa, and Esio Udoh, both contractors of FSML.
Etukudo and his co accused are standing trial on a 15-count charge of conspiracy, diversion of funds and official corruption preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The matter, had on December 12, 2017, been adjourned to 21 and 22 February, 2018 for trial to commence de novo, following the re-arraignment of the defendants upon the appointment of former trial judge, Justice Y. G. Dakwak, as the state's Chief Justice.
However, proceedings were stalled on February 21, after Justice Longi disallowed the witnesses subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify owing to the absence of their names in the proof of evidence.
At resumed proceedings on Thursday February 22, the prosecution presented its first witness, Mrs Ethel Ekam, former staff of the FSMLT.
Led in evidence by Samuel Okeleke, Ekam who testified as PW1, narrated to the court her knowledge of the matter before it.
"I was posted to FSMLT, Jos in November 2006 and transferred out in March 2014. My main duties were: lecturer, head of department, parasitology, project supervisor, project coordinator, practical coordinator and exam supervisor. My ad hoc duties were: hostel supervisor, student affairs officer, secretary, academic board, secretary, senior staff committee, secretary, scientist association, secretary to some organizing committees.
"I was invited by the EFCC to their office in Abuja sometime in March 2014. On reaching there, I was shown a petition written by some concerned staff of the school against the provost (the first defendant). I agreed with the petition and adopted it because it was the situation of things in the school at that time."
Ekam narrated to the court how a 7-member committee had been nominated by the school for foreign trainings in the United Kingdom and Ethiopia, but was not informed or mobilized accordingly, despite the funds being allegedly disbursed to some other persons.
"I was the sixth person on the list of nominated committee members to travel to Ethiopia for professional conference and to travel to the UK for professional training. I am here to say that I did not travel for any professional training. I was never paid any duty tour allowance or estacode for journeying abroad in respect of that training”.
Thereafter, cross examination by the counsel representing the first, third, fourth and fifth defendants commenced.
However, attempts by the defence counsel to pose questions to the witness relating to a document was objected to by the prosecution as the document referred to was not in an admissible form.
Justice Longi, thereafter adjourned the matter to April 19-20, 2018 for continuation of cross examination and trial.