A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today ordered a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh Onubuogo alleged to have been involved in the Sure-P scam to permanently forfeit the sum of N 664 million and the sum of $ 137,380 to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Saliu Seidu today granted the order at the resume trial of the former Permanent Secretary.
When the matter came up for hearing today, counsel to Onubuogo, Mr TS Awana informed the court that his client has two applications, one challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the other for the discharge of the earlier order of the court granting the interim forfeiture of the properties said to have been found in possession of the ex- Permanent Secretary.
Awana however, added that the case being a civil case and with the discussion between his client and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on the need to settle out of court, he would be withdrawing the two applications.
Counsel to EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo in his submission confirmed that there is a move to settle out of court.
He added that in view of that move, he will not be opposing the withdrawals of the two motions filed by the defendant and sought to be withdrawn
Oyedepo therefore, urged the court to strike out the motions so that the coast can be clear for out of court settlement.
Making further submission on the matter, 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 only to the government.
The properties are Clement Illoh’s Mansion located at Ikom Quarters, Issala Azegba, Delta State and the property lying and situates at number 19 Madue Nwafor Street off Achala Ibuzor Road, Asaba Delta State.
He then urge the court to discharge the earlier order of the court as regards the two properties only.
Awana did not however oppose the application and this pave the way for EFCC to move the motion for the final forfeiture of the other properties found in possession of the defendant said to have been reasonably suspected to be proceed s of illegal act.
In moving the application for final forfeiture of the properties, Oyedepo told the court that since the defendant has withdrawn their counter affidavits, the prosecution is left with no option than to move the motion for final forfeiture of the properties.
“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 of the application’s motion’
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 is supported with nine paragraphs affidavit and two exhibits. ‘ We also filed a written address in support of the motion as our argument in support of the motion’
The prosecution therefore urged the court to grant their application for the final forfeiture of the properties as contain 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 after listening to Oyedepo and in the absence of opposition to the motion from defence , granted the application ordering the defendant to forfeit the sum of N437,348,181.16 found by EFCC in possession of Onuogo 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 the commission in the defendant’s account.
Justice Saidu also ordered the forfeiture of another sum of N129,826,452.00 found by the commission 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
EFCC, had on Monday, April 3rd, 2017 arraigned Clement 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 was alleged to have failed to disclose the sum of N97, 300, 613.44 million, (Ninety Seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirteen Naira, Forty-four Kobo) found in his account .
He was also alleged to have warehoused the sum of $139, 575. 50, (One Hundred and Thirty-nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-Five United States Dollars, Fifty Cent) and £10, 121.52, (Ten Thousand One Hundred and Twenty-one Pounds) respectively in his account.
The offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 23(3)(c) of the Financial Crimes Commission (Establish) Act .
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.