The chief physician to former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah Jang, has taken the state government to court over his indictment in a multi-million naira contract to procure hospital equipment for the new Government House in Jos. He is demanding N500 million as damages.
Dr. Femi Ale is also asking the court to grant him an injunction to restrain the government from taken further action on the panel report which indicted him.
The doctor headed to court after the expiration of a five-day ultimatum he gave the government. He had written Governor Simon Lalong on September 2, asking the government to withdraw the indictment on grounds that his character was defamed in the report.
Dr. Ale, whose legal representative, Barrister Ahmad Garba, filed the court processes at the state High Court in Jos, yesterday, told Daily Trust that the indictment of his client was “unfair, unjust, unfounded and unjustifiable,” adding “Dr. Ale is innocent and has committed no offence as claimed in the injurious report.”
The probe committee, headed by a former Chief Medical Director at the Gwagwalada Specialists’ Hospital, Dr. Nandul Durfa, reported that the investigation uncovered an inflated contract deal of N188 million to equip the new Government House clinic.
The report said the committee discovered that the sum of N188 million was deposited in a private account on the directives Dr. Ale, without the written approval of the former governor, Jang, just as Ale signed an international supply contract of medical equipment with a German company, without the knowledge and input from the Ministries of Justice, and Health.
But the doctor’s counsel said the report was skewed to indict his client, and is asking for damages to the tune of N500 million.
The court process filed has five defendants, namely: the Plateau State government, chairman of the investigation committee, Dr. Durfa, the committee, the commissioner of police and the EFCC.
“We wrote the governor and gave the state government a five-day ultimatum. After the expiration of the ultimatum, we decided to give ample time, but there was no response from the government. So we decided to file our court processes. Our grounds are that the report of the committee is not unjust and unfair, as it is injurious, affecting the integrity of our clients. We are demanding for N500 million in damages, just as we are seeking an order to restrain the government from proceeding with further action on the report, including petitioning the EFCC,” Barrister Garba said.
Responding, Mr. Emmanuel Nanle, media aide to Governor Lalong, said the government welcomes any legal action from Dr. Ale, adding, “he is at liberty to test the law, but he should prepare himself for the same law to test him.”
He added: “plaintiff should also be aware that going to equity, you must be prepared to do so with clean hands.”