Justice Babs Kuewumi of a Federal High Court today adjourned the trial of Dr. Illoh Onubuogo Clement, a former Permanent Secretary with the Federal Ministry of Labour, who was charged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for not fully declare his assets.
The adjournment was sequel to the application made to court by Illoh’s lawyer, Mr. Uwanna O., who told the court about the declining health status of his client and non-comply with the section 379 (1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) by the prosecution.
In urging the court for adjournment, Illoh’s lawyer informed the court that the prosecution failed to comply with the section of ACJA, by not furnish his client with the summary of its witnesses’ statement.
He also told the court that the anti-graft agency had frustrated his client from perfecting the bail granted him by the court on April 4, 2017, by rejecting the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) on the ground that it cannot be find in the record of Land Registry, Alausa.
He further told the court that during the period his client was admitted to bail and remanded in custody of the EFCC, he was not given adequate time to discuss with him, as they were only allowed one hour to discuss.
Consequently, he urged the court not to allow the trial to go on, but adjourn it till another date.
Responding, lawyer to the EFCC, Mohammed Idris, urged the court to discountenance the submissions of the lawyer to the former Permanent Secretary.
He said his Commission did not float the Provision of Section 379 (1) of ACJA, as all the documents needed by the defendant are in the Proof-of-Evidence.
He also argued that in all the witnesses he intends to call, five are investigators with the Commission, while one is a staff of First Bank Plc, adding that the defendant and his defence team are availed with adequate time to meet and discuss, as they were allowed minimum of three hours to meet every day (11am to 2 p.m.)
He therefore urged the court to discountenance the defence submission.
Ruling on the submissions of both parties, Justice Kuewumi, said he is granting the application for adjournment on health ground.
He however, ordered the defendant’s lawyer to cooperate with the prosecution in facilitating the perfection of the defendant’s bail.
The matter has been adjourned till June 23, 2017, for the commencement of defendant’s trial.
The EFCC in a charge number FHC/L/1054c/17, alleged that the 59 years old Permanent Secretary, had on April 16, 2016, failed to disclose the sum of N97, 300, 613.44 million, in his account number 3033750243 domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
He was also alleged to have warehoused the sum of $139, 575. 50 USD, and £10, 121.52, British Pound Sterling (BPS), in his accounts number 3033750243 and 2017262246 also domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
The offences according to the EFCC said are contrary to and punishable under sections 23 (3)(c) of the Financial Crimes Commission (Establish) Act 2004.