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Permanent Secetary accused of stealing SURE-P funds opts for out of court settlement with EFCC

JUSTICE Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered   Clement Onubuogo a serving Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, to permanently forfeit to the Federal Government the sums of N664,475,246.6 and $137,680.11 found in his bank accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The forfeiture order came to a sequel to an application by the anti-graft agency which had accused Onubuogo of stealing the said sums.

 

Recall that the court had in August 2017 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 temporarily forfeit two landed properties.

 

One of the properties was Onubuogo’s house, known as Clement Illoh’s Mansion located at Ikom Quarters, Issala-Azegba, 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.

 

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.

 

Onubuogo’s lawyer, Mr. T.S. Awana, however, told Justice Saidu that his client had opted for an out-of-court settlement with the EFCC.

 

He said he was, in view of the out-of-court settlement move.

 

The defendant’s counsel thereby withdrew two applications he had earlier filed in opposition to the move by the EFCC to have his properties forfeited.

 

Counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, corroborated Awana, adding that he was not opposed to the withdrawal of the two applications.

 

Consequently, Justice Saidu struck out the two applications.

 

One of the applications had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case and the other praying the court to discharge an interim forfeiture order made in respect of Onubuogo’s landed properties and funds.

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