By Ayobami Ojo
The embattled Permanent Secretary to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Clement Illoh Wednesday denied that he stole N14.1 million from the defunct Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Illoh disclosed this in his ongoing trial of alleged stealing by conversion of property to the tune of N14.1 million brought against by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC).
In his defence before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court sitting Ikeja, Lagos, he said: “I did not steal the said sum neither did I divert the money to one Theresa Braimoh”. Illoh maintained in his testimony that N3. 5m part of the money was still in the account it was paid to
“The money was approved by NIMASA and it was meant for a meeting between NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Labour. Even the N14m budgeted for the meeting was not enough. We asked for N30m but only N14m was approved. The money was split into two for both parties; for the Lagos and Abuja offices. “
He further explained that the money was not paid into the Ministry’s account and noted that it was paid into an account bearing the name Illoh and Bob Associates.
“The money was not paid into the Ministry’s account because it was not in the annual budget . We wouldn’t have been able to access the money in the Ministry’s account, due to the cashless policy on ground.
“N3. 5m was expended on logistics, transport, stationary and honorarium. The Maritime Labour department did all the costing and all the details was handled by my special assistant, John Tsanwa who sadly is dead. “
However, the defendant counsel, Mr. U. Nwakwe prayed the court to adjourned the matter noted that he needed to access some documents which were vital to his client case.
The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till October 25, 2018 for continuation of trial.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft arraigned Illoh on a three-count charges bordering on stealing by conversion of property to the tune of N14.1 million.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges