A FORMER Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Clement Illoh, yesterday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has no right to question him on how he spent SURE- P funds.

Illoh is standing trial for allegedly stealing N14.1 million from Sure-P funds.

Illoh was being cross-examined by the EFCC lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo on how the N14.1million disbursed to his personal account by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was spent.

“You don’t have the right to ask me such questions. Why are you asking me such questions? Besides, the money in question wasn't budgeted for either 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,” he said.

The former permanent secretary also told the court that he didn’t keep any receipts to show the transfer of funds neither did he write any memo to his superiors stating that NIMASA disbursed such an amount to him.

The EFCC had earlier arraigned Illoh on a three-count charge, bordering on stealing by conversion of the property to the tune of N14.1 million.

The ex-permanent secretary, who admitted remitting N616 million to the Federal Government upon arrest, said N3.5 million, which was the funds leftover from the N14.1 million budgeted for the meetings, was expended on logistics, honorarium, stationeries and transport.

“I paid the sum of N3.5 million to Mr. John Tsonwa, my late special assistant and he is the only person who has the details of how the money was used, but sadly he is late,” he said.

Illoh, however, denied taking money from the defunct Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

He said he was aware that the EFCC recovered funds from his office and some contractors but claimed that the deceased managed the sum of N3.4 million for the workshop.

Illoh also agreed that it was his duty to comply with the financial regulations of the Federal Government regarding disbursement of funds or how funds ought to be expended.

Oyedepo  tendered the statement of the deceased man in evidence.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo thereafter adjourned the matter till December 3 for the continuation of trial.

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