The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Onubuogo, to forfeit to the Federal Government the sums of N664,475,246.6 and $137,680.11 found in his bank accounts.
Justice Saliu Saidu gave the forfeiture order in response to an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Onubuogo did not oppose application. The EFCC told the court that the permanent secretary diverted the funds from Sure-P, a youth empowerment programme initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
At the Tuesday’s proceedings, Onubuogo’s lawyer, Mr. T.S. Awana, told Justice Saidu that his client had opted for an out-of-court settlement with the EFCC.
He said he was, in response to the out-of-court settlement move, withdrawing two applications he earlier filed in opposition to the move by the EFCC to have his properties forfeited.
Consequently, Justice Saidu struck out the two applications. One of the applications challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case while the other prayed the court to discharge an interim forfeiture order made in respect of Onubuogo’s landed properties and funds.
The court had in August last year ordered the permanent secretary to temporarily forfeit to the Federal Government the sums of N664,475,246.6 and $137,680.11 found in his bank accounts.
The court also ordered him to forfeit temporarily two landed properties. One of the properties was Onubuogo’s house known as Clement Illoh’s Mansion located at Ikom Quarters, Issele-Azagba in Delta State, while the other, a hotel, is said to be located at No. 19, Madue Nwofor Street, off Achala Ibuzo Road, Asaba, Delta State.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told Justice Saidu that based on the out-of-court settlement, the anti-graft agency would only be praying for the permanent forfeiture of the funds but not the properties.
He said, “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.”
Awana did not oppose the application. Justice Saidu consequently granted same as prayed.