By Akin Akande, Abuja
The National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP) has suspended its National President, His Royal Highness, (Dr.) Omon Oleabhiele over an alleged embezzlement of over N29.6million belonging to the association.
Oleabhiele was accused of converting the association’s money for private use and self aggrandizement.
The disciplinary committee which investigated him has suspended him as National President through a letter dated February 20th, 2013 and mandated the National Deputy President Muhammed Salihu to oversee the affairs of the association pending the outcome of further investigation by the relevant government authorities.
The letter of “Suspension from Office” co-signed by the chairman and secretary of the disciplinary committee chaired by Goodluck Ochiagha and his secretary Prof. Gbakanladow read: “This is to notify you (Chief T.O. Omon Oleabhiele) that you have been suspended from office indefinitely pending the conclusion of investigations by relevant Agencies of Crime embezzlement and Fraudulent Conversion of money of National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP) etc against you.
“You are therefore directed to handover all properties of the associations in your custody to the Deputy National President, the letter stated.
Sequel to their findings, NANTMP petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police amongst others to arrest, investigate and prosecute Oleabhiele in accordance with the laws of the land with regards to his deliberate conversion of millions of naira belonging to the association into his private account and dispense same as his personal funds.
Chairman Disciplinary Committee, Goodluck Ochiagha said the actions of the suspended President was contrary to the provision of Article 27 section 1 of the constitution which states that “Whatsoever money derive shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the Association …and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of divided, bonus or otherwise however by way of profit, to the members of National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners.”
Itemizing his offences, the committee in its Petition stated that Dr. Omon in 2012 “used the association to collaborate with Beijing Institute for Chinese Traditional Medicine to organize a workshop in Lagos, Benin, Port-Harcourt, Anambra and Ibadan from which he realized the sum of N25million but failed to remit that mount to the association.
Earlier in 2011 Omon had levied each branch of the association in each state to pay the sum of N25,000 which accumulated to N900,000 only, an amount he converted into his private account without due recourse to the association.
Again in 2012 he increased the state levy by 75 percent, amounting to N100,000 the total of which translated to N3.7million only without crediting the First bank Account of the association.
In his defence, titled: “Expenses Made so far on Behalf of the NANTMP” written on February 19, 2012, Dr. Omon said he inherited a crises ridden Association but was committed to the promotion of the Association and its other arms.
In his quest to bring peace to the association “The Inspector General of Police matter cost us N460,000.” Which was part of the money he spent for which he is being accused he deposited in his written statement made available to the press.
Explaining the expenses he accounted for the sum of a little over N3million leaving the sum of over N26, 600 only unaccounted even as he said part of the sums was spent on the Inspector General of Police.
“The Inspector General of police matter cost us N460,000.”
His words: “Sum total of the stated money is, three million Four Hundred and Thirty Four Thousand One Hundred Naira only (N3,434,100).
Oleabhiele contravened this section of the constitution he swore to protect in the interest of the development of the NANTMP Goodluck told reporters in Abuja as flaunted the copy of the constitution.
He is also accused of also selling the association’s certificates and forms and refused to account for the money accrued from such sales, instead, he described the Northern Zones of the association as members of the Boko Haram seeking to forment trouble for him.
According to the Chairman Disciplinary Committee, Chief Goodluck Ochiagha, Dr. Oleabhiele has admitted unauthorized expenditure in a defence he presented before the Disciplinary Committee set up to try allegations against him.
He is now on indefinite suspension from the association to avoid undue influence on further investigations and trial of his matter” by the association, the committee said.
In the committee report made available to pressmen, Dr. Oleabhiele is accused of running a parallel account number 2017-663-719 with the First Bank on behalf of the association to which he is the sole signatory and has received the alleged amount of over N30 million on behalf of the Association.
Effort to call contact Oleabhiele failed as the two phone lines on his letter head were not going through while the first 08033117972 failed to connect, the other 08052742442 has been reallocated to another customer by the network.