BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA–It was a shocking revelation, yesterday, at the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee probing alleged illegal land allocations and racketeering in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja as the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mr  Ekpo Nta testified that his agency had seized a total of 61 houses, 45 plots of land at different locations within the FCT and a duplex from an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence  Corps, NSCDC in the course of  on-going investigations into land scams in FCT.

Nta also revealed that several bank accounts which the official used for the illegal land deals had been traced and frozen by the agency.

Ekpo Nta
Ekpo Nta

The ICPC boss, however, disclosed that the 61 houses seized from the Civil Defence Corps topshot was made up of 40 three-bedroom flats, 20 two-bedroom flats and a duplex.

He said official letters had been written to the appropriate government land authorities on the status of the seized  property and publication made in national dailies for the public to know so as not to fall victims of illegal deals again.

According to him, the agency swung into action following a tip-off from the Commandant-General of the NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin who personally visited him on May 15.

He said that Abolurin raised alarm that some officials of the corps were believed to be involved in illegal land deals using the agency as back-up. He also said they operated under a non-existent housing estate scheme in Abuja and Nasarawa State.

Nta further said: ”Impressed by the action of the Commandant-General of the Corps by reporting his own officials for alleged wrong-doings and demanding an independent investigation while other heads of agencies or organisations will be covering it up if it were to be in their organisations.

I commenced an immediate investigation by directing the Special Squad I set up on land matters to swing into action and the team even started with some officers who came with the C-G.

“We made findings, we also made efforts to get additional information from other government agencies and banks which assisted us immensely in the course of our investigations. In the course of the investigation, we established that six different companies were used in the scam, and the bank accounts of certain officers and the companies used were frozen while we seized several property including 61 houses, 45 plots of land and a duplex traced to some of the officers.

Interestingly, the 61 houses are made up of 40 units of three bedroom flats, 20 units of two bedroom flats and a duplex were seized from a single officer”.

He further stated that the company through which the NSCDC officials carried out the illegal deals were not among the six other companies that were investigated, even as he promised to commence another round of investigation on it.

While stating that all the interrogated officers had been released on administrative bail except an official who was on the run, Nta said that investigation had revealed that the affected officers used the NSCDC’s Co-operative Society to swindle members of the public who thought it was a genuine transaction especially when it involved the name of the organization, the transactions taking place within the premises of the FCT Command of the Corps located at Gudu district and the officers  wearing NSCDC uniforms during such illegal transactions.

Asked if there would be any compensation for the 186 victims of the scam since the property of the perpetrators had been seized, Nta said: “That is beyond our power, the final decision rests on the court. Ours is to arrest, investigate and prosecute, but as we speak, we have established abuse of office against some of the officers investigated, it is the court that will now decide their fate, but the law recognizes the interest of procurer”.

Elated by the testimony, the Committee chaired by Hon Bimbo Daramola expressed gratitude to the ICPC boss, saying the revelation will help put an end to land scams in the capital city.

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