Home News Trial of Governor Suntai’s Doctor, 13 others adjourned

Trial of Governor Suntai’s Doctor, 13 others adjourned

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By  Ndidi Chukwu

The case of Dr. Aliyu Zakari , Medical Doctor to the ailing Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai  and other 13 doctors on trial by the Tribunal of the Medical and Dental council  for professional misconduct  have been adjourned till 21st July, 2015. The tribunal did not deliver judgment in all the cases during the three days consecutive hearing.

The tribunal which has the status of a High Court as it’s  judgement  can be appealed only before the Court of
Appeal, began hearing on petitions against 14 medical doctors, Aliyu Zakari,  Fibian Osuji, Freeman Miri, Sunday Elusoji, Iyiola Joseph, Obafemi Kuye, Mukaila Oyewunmi, Erinfolarin Adebayo, Bolanle Adeyemi Ola, Rasaq Akintunde Akindele and Olaide Festus Bolaji. Also on trails are Amos Essien, Asemota Omoruyi Orhi, David Udoh and Adolphus Oraifo. Zakari’s  case could not go on as the prosecuting counsel pleaded for time to get the true certified copy of the newspaper which indicted him from the National Library. He is facing one count charge of divulging information on the health status of Governor Suntai to newsmen, which was published in contrary to the ethics of the profession. Adjourning the trials, the Chairman of the Tribunal Prof. Jonathan

Azibuike said it was to enable the counsels get all needed exhibits for the case. Zakari who made his first appearance after the case was instituted months back pleaded not guilty. The Tribunal was expecting hearing to continue yesterday before the prosecuting counsel, George Ibekwe asked for another date for hearing of the matter as they were yet to get one of the documents needed for the prosecution, “certified True copy of the Daily Trust Newspaper”
from the National Library.

The case was therefore adjourned till 22nd of July for continuation of hearing. While the attempt to discontinue trial of Sunday Elusoji, a consultant surgeon before the tribunal did not scale through as the patient who complained against him denied withdrawing his petition. Uwa Osagie, resident in Benin City, had earlier petitioned the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria that Dr Olusoji was negligent to his surgery following a gunshot wound in March 2013. He claimed his doctor did not do an x-ray before binding his shot leg, leaving pellets still embedded within, resulting in a later amputation of his right leg.

The tribunal was read a letter Osagie had purportedly written in which he said his petition on negligent treatment of his gunshot wound was in error. But Osagie appeared before the tribunal on crutches to say he was neither aware of the letter nor had he written it.  “I can’t write a letter of withdrawal and still travel all the way

from Benin City to Abuja,” he said. He produced an earlier affidavit to compare signatures and rejected the signature on the letter as his. “This is not my signature, my lord. I have an affidavit here. This is a forged signature,” said Osagie. “We are shocked,” Elusoji’s counsel Tunde Iluremi told the tribunal while asking for an adjournment. The doctor who was  not present at the continuation hearing on Tuesday on the excuse that he was sitting for a  professional examination in Lagos however appeared before the tribunal on Thursday, but the hearing could not go on as the lawyer said he has not been properly briefed and would need time to go through the letters. The prosecuting counsel did not object to the adjournment but also asked for permission to amend the charges against the doctor, a request which the tribunal acceded to.
Adjourning the case, the Tribunal Chairman advised that the amended charges be made available to the defense counsel before the next sitting,which is 21st, July, 2015. The trial of  Essien and  Orhi both of Shell Hospital Port Harcourt suffered a setback as  the tribunal could not proceed as experts witnesses in the cases were absent from proceedings . The two doctors were arraigned on one- count charge each on issues bothering on negligence in management of their patients and professional misconduct before the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. The charge sheet, against Dr Amos Essien read,  “  You, Dr Amos Essien was negligent in the management of one Mr Obhuo Eto Sonam, who was admitted under your care in the said hospital and caused to be prescribed and administered several doses of sedatives and anaesthetic drugs to the said patient without monitoring adequately at all until he died.”

The same charge was also filed against Dr Asemota Omoruyi Orhi , a consultant anaethesiologist with the Shell Hospital in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The defence counsel, O. Akonde said the absence of the expert witness is having a toll of them, saying, “This is the fourth time this case is coming up for hearing but the witnesses are not presen.”  The Tribunal Chairman, Prof Jonathan Azubuike ruled that if at the next session of the tribunal, the expert witnesses are not present, the tribunal will go on with the hearing.

“If by the next session of the tribunal coming up on July 21 the witnesses are not here, the tribunal will be left with no option than to continue with the hearing,” he said. Also, the case of the three doctors from R-Jolad Hospital, Lagos, Joseph,  Kuye and Oyewunmi was adjourned to July 21st, where both
counsels, Bashiru Isa, for the prosecuting team and Emmanuel Ndubuisi for the accused are expected to present their written addresses. Judgment on the case is also expected to come up on 22nd of July. Both Counsel concluded their interrogation and cross examination of the accused at yesterday’s sitting.

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