A witness in the on-going trial of a United Kingdom-based Professor of Neurology, Reuben Obaro, and his wife, Mrs. Ayodele Obaro, a practising nurse, also in the UK, on Tuesday told a high court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Zuba Abuja, that he does not know how 18 pages disappeared from the bank statement tendered in court in respect of the trial.
The witness, Taiwo Oladunjoye, a staff of Stanbic-IBTC, who manages the account of Stephen James Stroke Centre, told the court that the document was complete and intact when he handed it over to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
According to him, the prosecution, Mr. Osuoseni Akpos, should be asked what happened to the missing 18 pages of the document.
Oladunjoye told the court that he inherited the account as manager in November 2014 for Stephen James Stroke Centre.
While giving evidence before the court, he agreed that a total of N675, 994, 690.91 was credited into the account out of which N450million was debited, which leaves a balance of N225, 994, 650.91 in the account.
When he was asked to indicate where the balance was reflected in the document before the court, he said he was just given the document in court this morning (monday morning)and could not have had time to do the plus and minus.
According to the defence counsel, Mr. John Nnaemeka Egwuonwu, SAN, some vital pages, where the N225, 994, 650.91 balance reflected in the account, had been removed.
When asked, under cross-examination, if he was aware that some pages in the document were missing, he said “i doubt, if some pages are missing”.
But when confronted with the fact that pages 16 to 32 were missing in the document, he said he knew nothing about it.
He said, “The document i gave to the prosecution was complete. The prosecution should be asked for the missing pages. I did not leave out the vital pages of the document”.
The case has been adjourned to June 26th, 2019.
At the last adjourned date, the second prosecution witness, Mr. Babatunde Yakubu, gave a vivid account of how money were moved from a commercial bank into Stephen James Healthcare Limited.
The witness, while testifying before Justice A. O. Ebong of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Zuba, however told the court that he does not know what the money was used for.
But another witness, Adenike Akinola, 66, businesswoman, told the court that the organization bought a parcel of land at Gudu District of Abuja, at about the time the transactions were made.
Earlier in the trial, the court had been told that the land in Gudu is supposed to serve as the place where the permanent structure of the Stephen James Stroke Centre will be built which will be managed by Stephen James Healthcare Limited.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Akinola said the land was sold for a total sum of N185,000,000.
She told the court that the money for the purchase of the land was paid in several instalments through cash, cheques and inter-bank transactions.
When asked whether she knew the purpose for which the land is meant for, she answered in the affirmative, saying that it was for the building of the Stephen James Stroke Centre.
“Negotiation for the land started in 2013 after the land was valued by a qualified estate agent. The initial price was N250m but after negotiation, both parties agreed on N185m. I did not collect more than N185m”, she said.
Stephen James Stroke Centre of Excellence applied for support to the defunct SURE-P in 2013 to help in setting up of a stroke centre along international standards in Abuja.
The centre was estimated to cost three to four billion naira.
SURE-P awarded Stephen James Stroke Centre of Excellence the sum of 450 million naira in the 2014 budget but the money was not released to Stephen James Stroke Centre of Excellence until January 2015 as SEED grant.
The stroke centre, among others, is aimed at the management of the rising incidence of stroke among Nigerians in order to reduce the numbers of Nigerians travelling abroad to seek medical help.