We are not in custody of Cecilia Ibru’s property, EFCC says

The Nigerian anti-graft commission said the property were handed over to AMCON.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that it is not in possession of asset seized from convicted former Oceanic Bank boss, Cecilia Ibru, and so cannot disclose same.

The commission stated this in its reaction to reports that it failed to comply with a court judgement to disclose the extent of asset recovered from Mrs. Ibru. It said another judgment delivered earlier had transferred the custody of all asset seized from Mrs. Ibru to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.

A statement by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, on Wednesday, expressed surprise at the ruling delivered by Mohammed Idris, Judge of the Federal High Court Lagos, who had on February 22 given the Commission a 72-hour ultimatum to make the disclosure following an application by President of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, on the strength of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

Mr. Uwujaren said while the EFCC has no problem with individuals and organisations seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act, it is necessary to state that the commission has already appealed against the said order.

“The appeal was informed by the Commission’s belief that the order was unwarranted; just as the request which informed it was misdirected,” he said.

He also said that by the judgement of Justice Dan Abutu delivered on October 8, 2010; the EFCC had ceased to be the custodian of the forfeited asset of Mrs. Ibru.

Mr. Uwujaren failed to list the asset that the EFCC seized and handed over to AMCON.

Mr. Abutu had, while sentencing the convict on October 8, 2010, made pronouncements regarding the fate of her forfeited asset.

According to Mr. Uwujaren, paragraph 3 of page 2 of the order of Justice Abutu provides thus: “That in addition, all the assets set out in schedule VI of the Settlement Agreement are hereby forfeited to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON”.

He further disclosed that based on the order given by Mr. Abutu, the EFCC ceases to have custody of the asset and so cannot be compelled to disclose what it does not control.

“This order is public knowledge which is why Justice Idris’ ultimatum came as a surprise. From the order of Justice Abutu, it is very clear where enquiries about the Ibru properties should be directed; certainly not the EFCC,” he said.

Mr. Uwujaren also said the EFCC completed its job on the Ibru case the day she was convicted.

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