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Ex-Perm Sec forfeits N664m, $137,680 to Fed Govt

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The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of N664,475,246.6 and $137,680.11 allegedly recovered from a retired Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh Onubuogo.

He is on trial for allegedly failing to declare N97,300,613.44, $139,575.50 and £10,121.52 found in three of his bank accounts while in office.

Onubuogo pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was re-arrested over an alleged diversion of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) fund.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Onubuogo converted the forfeited funds from N10billion released by the Federal Government during his supervision of SURE-P.

The court, based on an August 15, 2016 motion ex-parte by the EFCC, also ordered the interim forfeiture of properties described as “Clement Illoh’s Mansion” at Ikom Quarters, Issala-Azegba in Delta State and a hotel on 19, Madue Nwafor Street, off Achala Ibuzo Road, Asaba, Delta State.

Onubuogo’s lawyer, Tom Awhana, filed a counter-affidavit challenging the interim forfeiture, adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to make the order because all the alleged transactions leading to the suit were done in Abuja.

Yesterday, Awhana told Justice Saliu Saidu that his client was in talks with the EFCC to resolve the matter out of court.

He withdrew his pending applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction and seeking to discharge the interim order.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo confirmed that plea bargain talks were ongoing with the defendant.

He urged the court to discharge the interim order with regard to the properties and moved his motion for the final forfeiture of the monies.

He said the application was based on Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act of 2014.

Awhana did not oppose the application for monies’ final forfeiture.

Justice Saidu consequently granted the application, ordering the defendant to forfeit N437,348,181.16 found in Onubuogo’s possession, which EFCC said is reasonably suspected to be  proceeds of unlawful activity.

The court also ordered the final forfeiture of another N97,300.613.44 found by the commission in the defendant’s account, as well as N129,826,452.00.

Onubuogo was also ordered to forfeit of $137, 680.11 to the Federal Government.

 

The Nation 

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