UCTH: Reasons why legal firm has dragged CMD Ikpeme Ikpeme before Nigeria’s antigraft agencies

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Nepotism, graft amongst others are about the reasons why the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme has been dragged before Nigeria’s antigraft agencies, namely, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) NEGROIDHAVEN can report authoritatively.

According to documents cited by our correspondent, the petitioner, namely, Shola Gabriel & Co has prayed the Commission to carry out detailed investigation into the act and administration of the CMD particularly touching on financial misappropriation, embezzlement, diversion of funds etc.

While urging the Commission to invite the CMD for questioning in respect of all budgets and administration of funds since his appointment as the Chief Medical Director. The Petitioner further called on the ICPC to also invite the Board for proper clarification in a prompt manner.

NEGROIDHAVEN learnt that the petitioner, SHOLA GABRIEL & CO, NELSON LOUISA (esq) in a Petition dated 26 July, 2022 claimed that from inception till date there has been several reports misappropriation of public funds, misuse of public funds, deliberate withholding of payments due to contractors, diversion of public funds amongst others including but not limited to:

• The construction of the 1km (one kilometer road): Having fully investigated the construction of the road, we realized that the entire length of the road through works department to the laboratory in addition to the Unical fence and the diversion to House Officers Hostel are all together not more than half a kilometer. The suspect subsequently, re-awarded the same contract to a different construction company for 158,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Eight Million Naira Only) which was previously cleared and graded by a different contractor in the previous administration of Professor Thomas U. Agan.

• The suspect has persistently 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” and approving N39,000, 000.00 (Thirty Nine Million Naira) 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. This administration only did a small stretch of the drainage and magnify the length and all the precast parts of the drainage were done before now.

• The suspect admitted to the board for embezzling the said funds.

The suspect also re-awarded and approved N40,000,000 (Forty million Naira) to construct drainage from Accident and Emergency to Esuk Atu Village boundary which was pre-cast drainage constructed by the previous company that the contract was awarded to during the construction of the hospital.

• The suspect continuously used his office and position to confer unfair advantage upon himself by ensuring renovation projects within the permanent site of the hospital like anti-natal clinic, family, medicine, intensive care unit, eye clinic conference hall, granite hall e.t.c fall within the approval range of the chief executive. This unfair act is clearly a prohibition of the Public Procurement Act.

• The roads leading from works Department to house officers’ hostel and the road presently under construction from the entrance to the Laboratory building were included in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 budget for 20,000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) the said contract were neither awarded nor executed. However, the budgets were accounted for.

• Hospital revenue which ought to be paid through remita are being Diverted through a micro finance bank (EOKDU BANK) by Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme since 2019 till date. This singular act of the Chief Medical Director of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) Calabar has violated section 22(5) of The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

• 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.

When contacted, the CMD, Prof Ikpeme acknowledged receipt of the petition but, described it as hog wash.

He said he was ready to defend himself anywhere as he has facts and superior evidence to prove that he was never involved in any of the allegations brought against him by the firm. He observed that, ‘Yes, I have a copy of the petition. I have seen it. The content is totally rubbish. But, I want to react to it with fact.

“I don’t want to just talk about it but, talk about it with facts so that you won’t say I said this or that but, that you confirmed the evidence. I can’t talk now. I will be available on Saturday. I have a flight to catch by 3PM,” Ikpeme concluded.