The suspects are facing eight charges before Justice A. O. Ebong of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, of allegedly committing several offences including misleading officers of the ICPC, frustrating investigation and misappropriating funds meant for the establishment of a stroke centre in Nigeria being funded through the defunct Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme.
The commission informed the court that the actions of the husband and wife violated Sections 25 (1) (a), 15 and 16 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same sections.
Details of the case revealed that the couple had allegedly proposed to SURE-P the establishment of a specialised stroke centre for the management of the rising incidence of stroke among Nigerians to be run by them for the government.
Using their company, Stephen James Healthcare Limited, they allegedly accessed a seed grant of N450m in January 2015, from SURE-P for the construction and purchase of medical equipment for the centre to be known as Stephen James Stroke Centre for Excellence.
However, N185m out of that money they had received was purportedly used for the payment for a plot of land which documents revealed had been theirs since 2013.
Further details show that the Obaros allegedly retrieved N37m out of N57m paid to a Lagos medical supplies company, JUNCI, for the supply of medical equipment to the centre for their personal use.
They were also accused of embezzling N11.6m of the SURE-P seed grant, which they used to procure a Toyota Prado jeep for their personal use.
One of the charges read, “That you, Obaro Reuben Oluwakinmilehin (Dr.) and Obaro Ayodele Olubunmi, (Mrs) and Stephen James Healthcare Limited sometime in September, 2016 or thereabout at Abuja, being entrusted with the sum of N450m being seed grant from SURE-P intervention funds for the strict use for the construction and equipping of a Stroke Centre, did commit criminal breach of trust by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of about N186m out of N450m given to you, strictly for construction and purchase of equipment for Stephen James Stroke Centre for Excellence, contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Code CAP 532 laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja 2006.”
Counsel for the Obaros, J.M. Egwuonwu (SAN), urged the court to sustain their administrative bail after they had pleaded not guilty to all the counts after they were read to them.
Justice Ebong ruled for the stay of the administrative bail granted earlier to the accused persons by ICPC.
The case was adjourned till June 30 for further hearing.