A magistrate court in Enugu State has acquitted two consultant psychiatrists of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, accused of forgery and stealing.
The duo, McDonald Inechi and Kinsley Ugwuonye, were discharged and acquitted on Wednesday.
The Enugu State Police Command had arraigned the two doctors before Chief Magistrate J. I. Agu, of the Enugu North Magisterial district on a four-count charge.
In the matter marked MEN/223c/2020, the duo were accused of stealing N700,000 belonging to Ozor Stephen, the next of kin to late Dr Ozor Obinna by forging his signature in a purported acknowledgement letter.
They were also accused of stealing N1,030,711 belonging to their colleague, Dr Obinna.
The doctors pleaded not guilty on each of the four counts charge and were granted bail of N300,000 and one surety each in like sum.
However during the last proceedings, the magistrate had advised the complainant, Mr Ozor to settle out-of-court before today’s (Wednesday) proceedings or the court will commence trial.
When the case was called up on Wednesday, both the police prosecutor, Simeon Aneze and defence counsel, Boniface Ugwu announced their appearances.
The complainant and defendants/accused persons were also present.
When the trial magistrate enquired about the progress on the settlement, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Aneze told the court that he just got information in the court that the complainant had settled with the accused.
Magistrate Agu however, asked the complainant whether he has settled with the accused persons and he said yes.
Ozor subsequently entered the witness box and made his declaration.
“I am Sir Stephen Ozor, a retired civil servant living at No 5 Ebenato Street, City Layout Enugu. I am the complainant in this matter and I want to withdraw it,” he said.
The defence counsel, Mr Ugwu, in his oral application urged the court to invoke provisions of section 199 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of the Enugu State 2017 to acquit and discharge the accused persons in view of these circumstances.
The court subsequently ruled “the application by PW1 is hereby granted. The accused person is hereby discharged and acquitted.”
Mr Ozor had petitioned the police accusing the two doctors of stealing funds they, with other doctors, contributed for medical treatment of his stepbrother, Dr Obinna Ozor.
Obinna, who died of kidney disease, was scheduled to be flown abroad for treatment but died in Lagos shortly before departure.
The doctors were said to have used part of the funds to bury their late colleague and the balance was later given to Mr Ozor and other entitlements of the late doctor as the next of kin.
However, five years later, after the financial records of the expenditure and other documents of the Association of Residents Doctors of the Hospital were burnt by a past president, Mr Ozor wrote the hospital demanding that entitlements of his brother should be paid to him.
He equally demanded that the doctors should give him a detailed account of expenses made from the funds the doctors contributed into a dedicated bank account for the treatment of his late brother.
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