Reps probe EFCC over seized property
By Okey Ndiribe & Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—House of Representatives, yesterday mandated its committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to carry out an in-depth investigation into all seized and sold assets by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, since its inception.
The House made this resolution to institute the inquiry following a motion sponsored by Mr. Toby Okechukwu, representing Aninri/Oji River Federal Constituency in Enugu State and 15 other lawmakers.
The legislators stated that EFCC had in the past confiscated over 200 mansions through forfeiture court orders but that there had not been a clear account of what happened to these assets, thereafter.
Okechukwu, who led the debate, argued that EFCC had within its mandate at many times confiscated, through court orders, assets from accused and convicted persons, including prominent Nigerians and corporate organizations.
He said the Assets Forfeiture Unit of the anti-graft agency was set up in 2008 with the mandate of ensuring that all assets forfeited to the Federal Government through EFCC were identified and verifiable.
He revealed that these forfeited assets, estimated at over N2 trillion, comprised landed property and business concerns, bank accounts, shares in blue chip companies, exotic vehicles, fuel stations, hotels, warehouses, shopping malls, schools, bakeries, housing estates and radio stations in and outside Nigeria.
Okechukwu expressed concern that there have been reports of vandalism, abandonment and wastage of some of these assets after they were seized by the anti-graft agency.
He also expressed dismay that there had been lack of clarity as to the utilisation of these assets, while litigation on the substantive corruption cases were on in the courts.
He said there had also been reported breach of the seal off EFCC and attempts at unlawful and forceful repossession by those whose property had been confiscated.
He revealed that the House has a challenge to look at the reported rot of over four hundred cars seized from some prominent Nigerians.
The lawmakers applauded EFCC for its diligence in the process of obtaining forfeiture order through the courts but insisted that there was need for proper management of these assets.