By Judex Okoro
A law firm, SHOLA GABRIEL & CO, has dragged the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, Ikpeme Ikpeme, a Professor, to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, over alleged financial misappropriation, embezzlement and diversion of funds.
In a petition dated, July 26, 2022 , the firm, claimed that from inception till date, there has been several reports against the CMD on misappropriation of public funds, misuse of public funds, deliberate withholding of payments due to contractors, diversion of public funds amongst others.
The firm also wants the Commission to carry out detailed investigations into how the CMD has administered UCTH and further urged the Commission to invite the CMD for questioning in respect of all budgets and administration of funds since his appointment as the CMD. The petitioner also called on the ICPC to invite the hospital Board for proper clarification in a prompt manner.
It was specifically alleged in the petition that the construction of the one kilometer road through the Works Department to the Laboratory, up to the UNICAL fence including the diversion to House Officers Hostel, are all together not more than half a kilometer even as the CMD has re-awarded the same contract to a different construction company for 0ne hundred and fifty eight million Naira only (N158 million). It was maintained in the petition that this contract was previously executed by a contractor in the immediate past administration of Thomas Agan.
Again, Ikpeme was accused of approving thirty nine million Naira (N39 million) for the maintenance of an existing open drainage (gutter) from the main hospital gate to Esuk Atu village boundary which was in existence before the present administration came on board, adding that this administration only did a small stretch of the drainage and magnified the length before putting a price to work not done. The petitioners are therefore of the opinion that, the CMD has allegdely violated section 22(3) of The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, by re-awarding the contract to another company ETIMEX ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES.
” The suspect also re-awarded and approved forty million Naira (N40,000,000) to construct a drainage from Accident and Emergency ward to Esuk Atu Village boundary which was a pre-cast drainage constructed by the previous company that the contract was awarded to during the construction of the hospital. The CMD continuously used his office and position to confer unfair advantage upon himself by ensuring renovation of projects within the permanent site of the hospital like the Ante-natal clinic, Family Medicine, Intensive Care unit, the Eye Clinic, Conference hall, Granite hall e.t.c, to fall within the approval range of the chief executive. This unfair act is clearly a prohibition of the Public Procurement Act”, it was stated.
“The Chief Medical Director has also violated the provisions of section 10 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences 2004 by neglecting to pay contractors for contracts duly executed for the hospital,” the firm insisted.
Contacted , the CMD, acknowledged receipt of the petition and described it as rubbish, saying “the content is totally rubbish. But, I want to react to it with facts.”
© 2022, Admin. All rights reserved.