A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour And Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh to four years imprisonment each in a three-count charge bordering on non-declaration of assets.
Justice Babs Kuewunmi sentenced the defendant after he changed his “not guilty” plea to “guilty”, four years after the prosecution had closed its case.
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.
In the first count preferred by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the defendant on April 19, 2016, in Lagos failed to make full disclosure of assets worth about 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.
On Thursday, during cross examination by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Mr Illoh revealed that he received funds to the tune of N65million from SURE P project contractors to his personal bank account.
In the middle of proceedings, defence counsel, T.S. Awana then sought the court’s permission to confer with his client, following which he applied to the court for the defendant to change his plea.
Justice Kuewunmi granted the application and Mr Illoh pleaded guilty.
Accordingly, he was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on each of the counts running concurrently.
Though the offences were bailable, the defendant’s bail was revoked in 2019, after Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court sentenced him to five years in jail over a N14.1million fraud.
Since then, he had been attending his trial in Ikoyi, from the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Before Mr Illoh’s second sentencing on Thursday, the judge heard his allocutus, where he requested that the judge temper justice with mercy.
In the court’s response, “I have given due attention to the allocutus 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 held.