ICPC Files Fresh Charges Against Man Who Impersonated A Doctor For 9 Years

 

…Ugwu met Daniel in court, but both men kept eye contact minimal and Ugwu kept his head bowed

imageMartins Ugwu faced Dr George Davidson Daniel, the doctor whom he has impersonated for almost a decade, for the first time in court on Monday, as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) brought fresh charges against him.

Ugwu is alleged to have stolen Daniel’s credentials—an August 2002 MBBS certificate from Ahmadu Bello University and a February 2005 National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate—which he used to secure a job at the headquarters of the federal health ministry, where he worked under the name of George Daniel until he was uncovered last year.

ICPC brought fresh charges of “false statement” against Ugwu for his arraignment at the FCT high court, Apo.

Ugwu’s arraignment came four days after he appeared at the Federal High Court in Central Abuja for continued hearing on separate charges of “stealing documents” being prosecuted by the police.

Ugwu’s counsel did not appear in court, prompting an adjournment to May 25.

The court has ordered Ugwu to pay N20,000 to cover transportation and accommodation for Daniel, who travelled from Jos, where he in residency training at Bingham University Teaching Hospital.

He is ICPC’s prosecution star witness to give evidence in Ugwu’s trial, going back years in the past while both men and former friends were growing up as boys in their Benue state hometown.

Ugwu was also best man at Daniel’s wedding before the documents disappeared, but both men did not look each other directly in the eye in court. He tried to shield his face from news cameras and kept his head bowed as proceedings got under way.

ICPC has built its case of “false statement” against Ugwu, using documents he issued or originated using the name of Daniel while working at FMOH, including applications for leave and identity card.

“These applications were made in the name of another person, who he claimed he is,” said Ekoi Osuobeni, lead counsel for the ICPC.

“ICPC Act is different from the criminal code upon which the police filed their own charge. Ours is very simple: this man made documents in the name of somebody as if he was the person. This information he made, by reason of making them in another person’s name, is already false information…and they are misleading in all material facts,” said Osuobeni.

Ugwu, using Daniels’ name, applied for the job on 10 October 2006, was offered the job on 17, applied for an identity card on 19 and by 20 was already applying for allowances he was not entitled to, according to federal civil service rules.

He also presented a fake address on his application, and gave his real name “Ugwu” as his next of kin.

Ugwu scaled through a lone promotion exam in 2013, rising to a level-13 senior medical officer in the ministry’s department of health planning, research and statistics—and later heading the ministry’s chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association.

He was also a member of the Nigerian Volunteer Contingent trained for the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, ASEOWA Mission in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but police claim he bolted after collecting allowances.

Later he welcomed the contingents upon their return to Abuja.

ICPC has lined up a total five witnesses to testify on May 25, and the court has said it will proceed with trial once legal counsel are ready whether or not Ugwu’s counsel appears.

The witnesses include officials of the Federal Civil Service Commission who have been investigating Ugwu. The chairman of the commission is to testify how Ugwu got a job as medical officer II in 2006. Since then he has amassed more than N17m in basic salaries and allowances that the commission now hopes to recover.

 

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