August 19, 2017
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the recent orderS by the Federal High Court in Lagos for the temporary forfeiture of a number of alleged fraudulently acquired properties and various cash sums by one Mr. Clement Onuguogo who is the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
CACOL also applauded the Court’s ruling granting the application by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, for the forfeiture of various illegally imported goods valued at 50 million naira.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had gone to court seeking the temporary forfeiture of huge sums of money totaling into billions of naira, were allegedly diverted from various SURE-P programs for Onuguogo’s personal use. Also affected by the order were properties allegedly owned by the accused in different parts of Delta State.
As for the NCS application to the court, permanent forfeiture was granted because the owners of the imported goods had absconded and refused to showed up to claim them having realized the severity of the punishment for their offence.
Expressing his delight at this development, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, describes the court’s decision as a true reflection of the judiciary’s positive response to the collective demand and yearning of the masses of Nigeria who are the main sufferers of the corrupt practices of public officers in positions of trust. To him, this decision by the court must have certainly sent a warning signal to other corrupt minds in high places.
The renowned anti-corruption crusader expressed his principled support for the thieves of our commonwealth not to only be punished but also be made to forfeit the proceeds of their criminal and wicked acts.
He describes as lacking in simple logic of commensuration a situation whereby a confirmed thief is given a slap-on-the-wrist punishment and yet allowed to keep the loot. He posited “I can assure you that if this trend is made to continue unabated in all similar cases, it would certainly go a long way in checking corruption to its barest minimum in high places. And by the way, what justice sense does it make and where lies the deterrence if a caught thief only receives a light punishment but allowed to keep what he’s stolen?”
He however saluted the good job done by the EFCC in the process of investigation and prosecution which according to him has complemented and facilitated that of the judiciary in this particular instance. He reminded the judiciary that for the war against corruption to be won, it has to see itself as comrade-in-arms with the federal government and other relevant institutions and agencies. “Justice is not only to be done but must be seen to be done as it was in the cases in question. We in CACOL and indeed well-meaning Nigerians would want to see more of this” he concluded.