Hearing on the N359million fraud trial of a former provost of the Federal School of Medical Laboratory Technology, FSMLT, Dr. Nkereuwem Sunday Etukudo, suffered another setback on July 17, 2017 as the absence of the trial judge, Justice Y. G. Dakwak of the Plateau State High Court, Jos, who was said to be away for another official engagement, forced an adjournment.
On the last adjourned date, Friday June 2, 2017, the Registrar who cited “scheduling conflicts” as reason for the further adjournment, today informed parties that, “The judge had travelled for a conference in the company of the Chief Judge.”
Consequently, the matter was further adjourned.
Etukudo is facing a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy and diversion of funds to the tune of N359million preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
He is alleged to have committed the crimes alongside Yusuf Samuel, Accountant, FSMLT; Ernest Demtoe, Secretary of Tenders Board, FSMLT; Goodluck Echewa, and Esio Udoh, both contractors of FSMLT.
The EFCC had after Etukudo’s arraignment in May, 2016, presented a witness, PW1, Ethel Ekan, to commence trial.
During the examination, Ekan, a lecturer and hostel supervisor, narrated how the defendants diverted FSMLT funds and severally awarded contracts to companies in which they had interests.
According to her, the contracts were abandoned and contract sums diverted to personal use.
The witness also explained how she and six others had been nominated for international study tours on two occasions, but later discovered that the funds approved and released for the programme had been ‘cornered’ by the defendants for personal interests.