By Akin Kuponiyi
A Federal high court sitting in Lagos South West Nigeria on Thursday ordered interim forfeiture of N664 million and $137,680.11 found in account belonging to a serving Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Illoh Onubuogo and 15 other persons suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
The court also ordered that two properties in Delta state alleged to have been acquired and developed with proceeds of unlawful activity to wit :stealing should also in the interim be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The order of the court was sequel to an action in rem with affidavit of urgency in support of the motion ex -parte filed and argued before the court by Economic and financial crime commission’s counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa.
In an affidavit in support of the motion ex -parte sworn to by an operative of the EFCC Huleji Abraham Tukura, the deponent averred that the special task force of the anti graft agency received an intelligent report against Clement Illoh Onubuogo that funds meant for various SURE-P programs under the Federal ministry of Labour and Employment were stolen, diverted and converted to personal use.
The said intelligent report was analyzed and found worthy of investigation, the investigation of the commission revealed that Clement Illoh was a serving Permanent Secretary, Federal ministry of Labour and Employment who was saddled with the responsibility of the supervision of SURE-P Viz SURE-P Technical and Vocational Educational Training and Community Service Women and youth empowerment programs among others under his ministry.
The Federal Government of Nigeria released over Ten Billion Naira which he superintendent. Out of this amount, the commission traced total sum of N877 million to him which he converted to his personal gain,from the fictitious and fraudulent contract to his company Clement & Bob Associate which he used to fraudulently to enriched himself to the tune of N95 million funds which were meant for the SURE-P program. He also used his position to receive kick backs/gratification from various contracts under the SURE -P program using his staff and front companies.
From kickbacks received he made cash payment into Clement & Bob Associate account number 1013449507 using fictitious names to the tune of N81 million while he received the total sum of $600,000 USD proceed of unlawful activity which he converted to N103 million and paid into the Same company account.
Mr Takura averred further that, Clement Illoh awarded a contract to one of his companies Ojeagu Farms Limited where he is a Director and sole signatory account of the company, in respect of this company, he converted the sum of N90million to his personal gain and made further cash deposits totaling N9.9 million into the account using fictitious names.
He received another sum of N37 million which was diverted through Agoha Joseph Emeka a staff of Federal ministry of Labour and Employment for his personal gain.
Through Ojeagu Global service, a company owned by his family converted the sum of N159 million.and,through undeclared Access bank and First bank accounts fraudulently concealed the sum of N123 million and through fictitious contract, himself, one John Tsokwa and Salisu Kura conspired and procure the sum of N29 million out of which the sum of N10,500,00.00 was retained by Clement Illoh.
One Tejuoso Atalabi who is his relative and owned companies namely :Armadillo Nigeria Limited and Boldblock Construction Limited were fraudulently awarded contracts in the sum of N116 million. Tejuoso Atalabi retained the total sum of N45 million.
Two buildings in form of mansion situated at Ikem Quarters, Issala -Azagba, Delta state and another building in form of Hotel situated at 19,Madue Nwafor Street, off Achala Ibuzo road Asaba, Delta which were reasonably suspected to be a proceed of unlawfully activity were recovered from him,also recovered from him is the sum of N545 million stolen from the account of the Federal Government of Nigeria which he cannot give satisfactory account of it.
The commission recovered total sum of N129 million from the following people Salisu Bala Kura, Rabiu Said, Tonye Isokeiri, Buhari Maaji Dahiru, John Tsokwa Lanky, Ahmed Mahmoud Music, Muktar Sufism, Udoh Nnamdi, Umar Bello Mashi, Salogu Karo, Usman Bello, Ahmed Mohammed Makki ,Umar Abubakar, Aliyu Abubakar, and Enape Victoria., who in grand conspiracy with Clement Illoh Unubuogo unlawfully retained the said sum from Federal Government of Nigeria which is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime to wit :Kickback/gratification.
Consequently Mr Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court in the interest of Justice to issue order of interim forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria the monies and properties found in possession of the respondent which is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity to wit stealing.
In his ruling the presiding vacation judge Abdulaziz Anka ordered interim forfeiture of the monies and properties as stated in the motion papers to the Federal Government of Nigeria .
Justice Anka also ordered that the order of the court should be published in any national Newspaper for Clement Illoh Unubuogo or anyone who is interested in the money and properties sought to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause within 14days why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
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