By Francis Ogwo
The Federal Government through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the Federal Government, has commenced the process of disposing of multi-billion naira assets seized from some political personalities in the country.
The exercise kicked off on Wednesday after an assessment visit by the committee to some of the forfeited properties located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in preparation for their sales. The seized assets are scattered in 25 locations across the country.
Some of the seized assets put up for sale by the committee include luxury houses, water vessels (ship, boat, canoes), motor vehicles, plants, machinery, electronics, furniture, equipment, jewellery, ornaments and clothing materials.
The Chairman of the committee, Dayo Apata (SAN) led the team as they visited five locations where they identified property to include house No: 6 Ethiope Close, Maitama; 19 Kumasi Crescent, Wuse 2; 14 Adzope Crescent Wuse 2; a 35-room hotel located at No: 001 Owu Falls Close; Amsco Platinum City, Abuja, Galadimawa, called The Platinum Residence Exquisite Luxury Accommodation.
The committee also visited a facility behind the National Mosque, Abuja where hundreds of vehicles of different modes are kept.
The Federal Government, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), have secured interim and final forfeitures of assets alleged to be proceeds of crimes from former ministers, governors, top civil servants and military brass in court.
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her business associates have lost several assets to the Federal Government. Chairman of the Committee, Apata, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to ask the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to coordinate the sale of assets forfeited to the Federal Government is to ensure uniformity and transparency.
Speaking shortly before the committee’s visit to the forfeited properties, Apata said such responsibilities were also part of the duties of the AGF, being the nation’s chief law officer.
Apata, who is also the Solicitor General of the Federation, noted that the presidential directive for the constitution of his committee was given by the President “in recognition of the pressing need for the Office of the AGF to coordinate and oversee a uniform process or common platform for the recovery, management and sale of all assets forfeited to the Federal Government rather than each agency working in silos without proper supervision, thereby leading to the loss or wastage of the assets.”
Apata, who said his committee has, since inauguration on November 9, 2020, continued to work on ways to ensure it meet the six months allocated to it, noted that the committee has ascertained that the forfeited assets are in 25 locations nationwide. He added that the committee is collating and up-dating the list of assets that have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government, and also engaging in on-site visitation/auditing of the forfeited assets to confirm their existence and current state.
“The committee remains highly committed to ensure a radical departure from the past by ensuring that government receives adequate value for forfeited assets and also to ensure that the assets are neither misappropriated nor mismanaged, but are dealt with for public good.
“Let me assure Nigerians, on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation, that the composition of the committee is broad based and represents all relevant stakeholder interest that will guarantee efficiency and adherence to due process,” Apata said.
Recall that in the fight against corruption by the government, several personalities linked to succeeding administrations who were found guilty of corruption and looting had their properties confiscated by the government.