Posted by News Express | 22 June 2018 | 1,475 times
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday dismissed a no-case submission filed by Clement Illoh Onubuogo, a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity.
Onubuogo is facing trial on a three-count charge bordering on stealing by conversion and conversion of property to the tune N14,176,000.00.
Onubuogo, who was responsible for supervising numerous programmes such as the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), allegedly awarded fictitious contracts to himself, using his personal company and friends.
The prosecution had, on March 7, 2018, closed its case against the defendant, following the cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness, PW4, Theresa Braimoh, a retired Director in Productivity, Measurement and Labour Standard Organization.
At the last adjourned sitting, counsel to the defendant, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, had told the court that there was nothing linking his client to the charges preferred against him by the prosecution.
He had, therefore, urged the court to strike out the case on the grounds that the prosecution could not establish a prima facie case against his client.
In his response, however, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the prayer of the defence amounted to contesting the obvious.
Oyedepo said: “The evidence of the four prosecution witnesses and the legally admissible evidences marked and admitted as exhibits A to F are enough to link the defendant to the charges preferred against him by the EFCC.”
Oyedepo further told the court that the defendant transferred public funds to the tune of N14, 176,000.00 from NIMASA to his company, Clement & Bob Associate’s account for personal use, instead of retiring the money to NIMASA, adding that “in the extra-judicial statement made by the defendant, he admitted that he is the owner and signatory to the account of Clement & Bob Associate and that the company does not have any contract or business transaction with NIMASA.”
At the resumed hearing today, the Judge, in her ruling, held that the prosecution had been able to establish a prima facie case against the defendant and therefore ordered him to enter his defence.
Consequently, Justice Taiwo adjourned the matter to September 19 and 20, 2018 for the defence to open its case.
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