Clement Illoh, an ex-Federal Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity was on Thursday sentenced to five years in prison over N14.1million Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) fraud.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court passed the sentence after convicting Illoh on count of stealing by conversion of public property.
The judge also ordered forfeiture of the stolen N14 million SURE-P fund by the convict into the coffers of the Federal Government.
“It is unfortunate that a senior officer found himself in this predicament. A public officer has no right to steal from public funds.
“I therefore sentence the defendant to five years imprisonment without an option of fine.
“He should serve his sentence at the Ikoyi Prisons,” she said.
Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the lead prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had urged the court to sentence Illoh to seven-years in prison.
“Each of the two charges stipulates a sentence of three years in prison, I urge the court to sentence the defendant to seven-years in prison according to Section 280 of the Criminal Law,” Oyedepo said.
Responding to Oyedepo’s submission, Justice Taiwo said: “The court is of the discretion as regards sentencing.
“Therefore, the court has the discretion of reducing the sentence from seven-years to five-years.
“The sum of N3.5million withdrawn by the defendant and the sum of N10.5million recovered by the EFCC shall be refunded into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the federation.”
NAN reports that the convict was arraigned on Oct. 16, 2017 by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on stealing by conversion of property to the tune of N14.1 million.
The EFCC closed its case against the convict on May 16, 2018 with four prosecution witnesses testifying.
Two witnesses including Illoh testified for the defence.
According to the anti-graft agency, Illoh was responsible for supervising numerous programmes including SURE-P during which he awarded fictitious contracts to himself via his company and friends
The convict was said to have diverted SURE-P funds sourced from NIMASA.
The offences contravene Sections 279 (1), (b) and 285 (6) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. (NAN)