Thursday, October 5, 2017

EFCC Re-Arrests Perm Sec In Court, Lawyer kicks, Judge Says.. It's Our Money Let Them Help Recover It

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday re-arrested the serving Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Onubuogo, over an alleged SURE-P fraud.

Onubuogo was picked up on the premises of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, where he was already facing trial over alleged diversion of funds from the SURE-P programme inaugurated by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Apart from prosecuting him before Justice Babs Kuewumi, the EFCC had also obtained an interim order to seize two properties belonging to Onubuogo as well as the sums of N664,475,246.6 and $137,680.11 found in his bank accounts.


The permanent secretary had on Wednesday appeared in court for the continuation of his trial before Justice Kuewumi.

When the case was called, the EFCC prosecutor was absent from the courtroom.

In the circumstance, Onubuogo’s lawyer, A. Dada, asked for an adjournment, noting also that his client was very ill.

The judge, who was displeased with the development, said he had adjourned several cases so as to devote enough time to the hearing of Onubuogo’s case on Wednesday.

The judge, however, acceded to the prayer for an adjournment, shortly after which the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, stepped into the courtroom, followed by the defence counsel, who was already on his way out.

Dada complained to Justice Kuewumi that his client had just been picked up by operatives of the EFCC.

He said having been granted bail by the court, it was wrong for the EFCC to re-arrest his client.

But Oyedepo said there was no law that stopped anyone undergoing trial from being re-arrested for another criminal matter.

“The money belongs to all of us and we should all support efforts towards recovering it,” Oyedepo said.

The judge said having already adjourned the case, there was nothing he could do about the re-arrest of the permanent secretary.

EFCC accused Onubuogo of acquiring properties with funds which he allegedly diverted from SURE-P, a youth empowerment scheme launched by ex-President Jonathan.

One of the properties is his 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.

On August 17, 2017, Justice Abdulaziz Anka ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds and the assets following an ex parte application moved before him by Oyedepo.

In the ex parte application, the EFCC said the funds and the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of stealing and bribery.

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