EXTRA: ‘You have no right to question me’ — ex-perm sec challenges EFCC lawyer in court
Clement Illoh, ex-permanent secretary in the Labour ministry, on Thursday locked horns with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) over funds belonging to the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
During the trial at the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, asked how the contentious N14.1million was spent after it was disbursed to Illoh’s personal account by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The ex-permanent secretary responded by saying the lawyer had no right to ask him such questions, adding that the N14.1 million was legally sourced from the agency.
“You don’t have the right to ask me such questions. Why are you asking me such questions?” he asked.
“Besides, the money in question wasn’t budgeted for neither was it appropriated, because it wasn’t the ministry’s fund.
“I collected the money in the capacity of my official office, but it was NIMASA’s money that I spent and not from the Ministry of Labour’s office.
“I wrote a memo requesting for the transfer of N14m from maritime to my business account called Clement and Bob Associates, wherein Access Bank was asked to debit NIMASA and credit my account.
“The money was paid to my personal account by NIMASA in a form of non-personal advance.”
Illoh had been charged to court on three counts of “stealing by conversion of property” from SURE-P funds.
The ex-permanent secretary denied the charge, claiming that N3.5 million out of the sum in question was spent on logistics, honorarium, stationeries and transport.
He said his personal assistant who is now deceased had details of how the money was used since he was in charge of it.
The EFCC counsel presented a statement by the deceased as evidence.
Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the presiding judge, adjourned the trial till December 3.