A former Permanent Secretary was asked to kiss goodbye to N664million and $137, 680.11 today at a Federal High Court, in Lagos.
Dr Clement Iloh Onubuogo, the former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, was accused of involvement in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) scam.
The Court ordered him to permanently forfeit the loot to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Court presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu, granted the forfeiture order at the resumed hearing of a suit filed against the former Permanent Secretary by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
At the resumption of the case today, Onubuogo’s lawyer, Mr. Tom Awana, told the court that his client had two applications, one challenging the jurisdiction of the court, and the other for discharge of the earlier order of the Court granting the interim forfeiture of the properties in question.
Awana, however, added that the case being a civil case and the discussion between his client and the EFCC on the need to settle out of court, he would be withdrawing the two applications.
Lawyer to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, in his response, confirmed the position of the move to settle out of court and stated that he will not be opposing the withdrawals of the two motions filed by the defendant. He urged the Court to strike out the motions for the coast to be clear for out of court settlement.
While making further submission, Oyedepo told the court that based on the discussion and agreement reached between the parties EFCC would be applying for the discharge of an earlier interim order of the court as regards two of the properties being sought to be forfeited to the government.
The properties are Clement Illoh’s Mansion located at Ikom Quarters, Issala Azegba, Delta State, and the property at number 19 Madue Nwafor Street, off Achala Ibuzor Road, Asaba Delta State.
He urged the Court to discharge the earlier order as regards the two properties only.
Clement’s lawyer, Awana did not oppose the application which paved the way for EFCC to move the motion for the final forfeiture of the other properties suspected to be proceeds of illegal act.
In moving the application for final forfeiture of the properties, EFCC counsel, Oyedepo told the court that since the defendant has withdrawn the counter affidavit, the prosecution is left with no option than to move the motion for final forfeiture of the properties.
He said, “In view of the discussion with the defendant we want to move the motion of the 5th of September 2017, wherein we are seeking the final forfeiture of the properties listed in prayers 1,2,3 and 4.”
Oyedepo said the motion was brought pursuant to section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act number 14, 2014.
The prosecution said the application for final forfeiture was supported with nine paragraphs affidavit and two exhibits.
He added, “We also filed a written address in support of the motion as their argument in support of the motion.”
The prosecution, therefore, urged the Court to grant their application for the final forfeiture of the properties as contained in prayers 1,2,3 and 4 in the face of the motion papers..
The application was not opposed by the defendant.
Justice Saliu Saidu consequently granted the application ordering the defendant to forfeit the sum of N437,348,181.16 found by EFCC in possession of Onubuogo, which sum is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
The Court also ordered the final forfeiture of another N97, 300, 613.44, found by EFCC, in the respondent’s account.
The defendant was also ordered to forfeit another sum of N129, 826, 452, found in possession of Salisu Bala Kura, John Isakwa Kanku, Ahmed Mahmud Muazu, Muktar Safian, Udoh Nnamdi, Umar Bello Mashi, Salogu Karo, Usman Bello, Ahmed Mohammed Makki, Umar Abubakar, Aliyu Abubakar and Enape Victoria.
Onubuogo was also ordered to forfeit to the Federal Government the sum of $137, 680.11.
The EFCC, had on April 3, 2017, arraigned Clement O. Illoh, before Justice Babs O. Kuewumi of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a three-count charge bordering on failure to declare his assets.
The accused person allegedly failed to disclose the sum of N97, 300, 613.44, found in his account.
He also allegedly warehoused the sum of $139, 575. 50, and £10, 121.52, respectively in his account.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges read to him.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the Court for a trial date.
The defence counsel, Tom Awhana, pleaded with the Court to grant his client bail on liberal terms.
Consequently, Justice Kuewumi granted the accused bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety in like sum.