The Federal High Couri in Ikoyi, Lagos has ordered permanent forfeiture of the sum of N664m, $137,680.11, belonging to a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labor and Productivity, Mr. Clement Illoj Onubuogo, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Saliu Seidu today granted the order at the resumed trial of the former permanent secretary.
Mr. Onubuogo was alleged to have been involved in the Sure-p scam.
At the resumption of the case, counsel to Mr. Onubuogo, Mr. TS Awana, informed the court that his client has two applications, one challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the other for a discharge of the earlier order of the court granting the interim for forfeiture of the properties in question.
Mr. Awana however, told the court that he would be withdrawing the applications in view of the ongoing discussion between his client and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, confirmed the position of the move to settle out of court, stating 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 to pave way for out of court settlement.
While making further submission, Mr. 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 lying and situates at number 19 Madue Nwafor Street off Achala Ibuzor Road, Asaba Delta State.
He then urges the court to discharge the earlier order of the court as regards the two properties only.
The defendant’s lawyer did not oppose the application which gave way for EFCC to move for the final forfeiture of the other properties said to have been suspected to be proceeds of illegal act.
Mr. Oyedepo told the court that since the defendant has withdrawn their counter affidavit, the prosecution is left with no option than to move the motion for final forfeiture of the properties.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,” Mr. Oyedepo said.
He 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.
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, the presiding judge, consequently granted the application.
He ordered the defendant to forfeit the sum of N437,348,181.16 found in his possession, by the anti-graft agency and which was suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
The defendant was also ordered to forfeit 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.
Mr. Onubuogo was ordered to forfeit to the Federal Government the sum of $137, 680.11
EFCC had on Monday April 3, 2016, arraigned Mr. Onubuogo, before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court, 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 Million, (Ninety Seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirteen Naira, Forty-four Kobo) found in his account.
He also allegedly warehoused the sum of $139, 575. 50 USD, (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 offenses 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.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel asked the court for a trial date.
However, the defense counsel 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.