Assets Declaration: Court Sentences Ex-Perm Sec To 4-Year Jail Term

Federal High Court Lagos
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A former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh Onubuogu, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday on three counts each of non-declaration of assets.

Justice Babs Kuewunmi sentenced Illoh after he changed his “not guilty” plea to “guilty”, on each of the counts. This is coming four years after the prosecution closed its case.

“I have given due attention to the allocutus of the defendant. However, the court will not fail to perform its duty in accordance with the provisions of the law. Consequently, the defendant is hereby sentenced to four years in each of the counts and same shall run concurrently from the 10th of October 2019,” Justice Kuewunmi held.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the sum of N97,300,613.44, $139,575.50 and £10,121.52 respectively to the Federal Government of Nigeria being proceeds of unlawful activities.

Illoh was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three-count charge.

In the first count, the court heard that the defendant on April 19, 2016, in Lagos failed to make full disclosure of assets to the tune of N97.3 million, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 27 Subsection 3c of the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.

In the second count, he was accused of failing to disclose the sum of $139,575, while in the third count he failed to disclose assets of £10,121.

After an intensive cross-examination in court (on Thursday) by Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, he made a U-turn and changed his plea.

Oyedepo had told the court that Illoh received funds to the tune of N65 million from SURE-P project contractors to his personal First Bank account no: 3033750243.

In the middle of proceedings, the defence counsel Mr T.S. Awana sought the court’s permission to confer with his client following which he applied for the defendant to change his plea.

Justice Kuewunmi granted the application and Illoh subsequently pleaded guilty.

He was convicted by the court and sentenced to four years imprisonment on each of the counts.

The sentence is the second time in three years that Illoh has been convicted of fraud.

In October 2019, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos Special Offences Court, Ikeja jailed Illoh for five years after he was convicted of a N14.1 million fraud.

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