Court frees psychiatrists accused of stealing from deceased colleague

Two consultant psychiatrists with the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Drs McDonald Inechi and Kingsley Ugwuonye, who were accused of forgery and stealing, were on Wednesday discharged and acquitted by an Enugu State Chief Magistrates’ Court.

The state police command had recently arraigned the doctors before Chief Magistrate J. I. Agu for allegedly stealing N700,000 belonging to Sir Stephen Ozor, the next of kin to the late Dr Obinna Ozor by forging his signature on a purported acknowledgement letter.

They were also accused of stealing N1,030,711 belonging to Obinna, who was their colleague.

The doctors pleaded not guilty to the four counts and were admitted to bail in the sum of N300,000 and one surety each in like sum.

However, during the last proceedings, the chief magistrate had advised the complainant, Stephen, to settle out-of-court before Wednesday’s session or the court would commence trial.

But when the case was called up on Wednesday, both the police prosecutor, Simeon Aneze told the court that he just got information that the complainant had settled with the accused.

Agu asked the complainant if he had settled with the accused persons and he answered in the affirmative.

Ugwu, in an oral application, urged the court to invoke the provisions of Section 199 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Enugu State, 2017 to acquit and discharge the accused persons in view of the circumstances.

The court subsequently discharged and acquitted Inechi and Ugwuonye.

It was gathered that trouble started for the psychiatrists when Stephen petitioned the police and accused them of stealing funds that other doctors contributed for the treatment of his step-brother, Obinna.

Obinna, who was down with kidney disease, was slated 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 Obinna and the balance and the deceased’s other entitlements were later given to Stephen as the next-of-kin.

Five years later, the financial records and other documents of the Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, were said to have been burnt and Stephen wrote the hospital demanding that his brother’s entitlements should be paid to him.

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