By Akin Kuponiyi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh to 12 years imprisonment.
He was sentenced to four years imprisonment on each of the three-count charges bordering on non-declaration of assets.
The presiding Judge Babs Kuewunmi sentenced Illoh after he changed his “not guilty” plea to “guilty”, four years after the prosecution closed its case.
“I have given due attention to the plea 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 said.
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 being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three-count charge.
In the first count, the court was told 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.
He made the U-turn on Thursday after an intensive cross-examination from the EFCC prosecutor revealed that Illoh received funds to the tune of N65million from SURE-P project contractors to his personal First Bank account no: 3033750243.
In the middle of proceedings, 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 pleaded guilty.
Accordingly, he was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on each of the counts running concurrently.
The sentence is the second time in three years Illoh will be convicted of fraud.
On October 3, 2019, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo presiding over an Ikeja Special Offences Court jailed Illoh for five years for N14.1million fraud.Forfeits N94million, $139,575, £10,121.52 to Federal Government.