A former permanent secretary in the Labour ministry, Clement Illoh, on Thursday, challenged the right of Rotimi Oyedepo, the counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to question him over funds allegedly belonging to the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.
During the trial at the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Oyedepo asked how the N14.1million in question was spent after it was disbursed to Illoh’s personal account by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
In response, Illoh said, “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.