Owners of the property may have to prove they acquired them legitimately.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Allied Offences Commission (ICPC) said on Wednesdaythat it had seized more than 100 houses in Abuja suspected to have been acquired with proceeds from corruption.
Isa Salami, a Commissioner in ICPC, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar, said the houses were seized by the commission within the last four months.
He said the commission was also prosecuting Sunday Ehindero, a former Inspector-General of Police, for allegedly diverting N16 million belonging to the force to his personal use.
Mr. Salami, who was in Calabar to represent Ekpo Nta, the Chairman of ICPC, at a two-day retreat on the Provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, said the ICPC had published a Law Report which reflected the cases it had prosecuted since 1999.
He said the commission had also embarked on public education and enlightenment on its activities, adding “we have to encourage the public to buy into the war against corruption so that they own it.
“So, we must always capture public sympathy and support for our actions. In this drive we visit schools, where young people are to catch them young and advise them against glorifying corruption.
“We also visit universities, where we have started a system review so that all corruption-prone processes and procedures are reduced to the barest minimum.”
He assured that similar exercises would be carried out at the seaports and aviation sector, which according to him, are gateways for foreigners to access Nigeria.
“These areas of our economy affects the foreigners’ first impression about us and indirectly affects foreign direct investment in the country which is critical for the growth of our economy,’’ he said.
He said the ICPC would concentrate on aspects of the law to examine persons suspected to be living above their
means through the assets they had acquired.
“This will be either by way of buildings or vehicles or even fat bank account.
“Once we apprehend anybody, we do not need to go to court; the chairman of the commission has powers to gazette the seizure of these assets. And it is now up you to go to court and prove that you inherited or acquired them legitimately, otherwise those assets become state property after a year.
“So far, we have seized more than 100 houses in Abuja and environs within the last three or four months,’’ he said.
He said the commission had also spread its tentacles to some local government areas where recoveries were made in terms of funds taken fraudulently out of public coffers.
The commissioner said three toll free lines had been provided by ICPC to members of the public to offer useful information to the commission.
He, however, warned people against abusing the opportunity by using the lines to settle personal scores by concocting falsehood against innocent persons.
He urged Nigerians to continue to abhor corrupt practices and refrain from supporting people that are known to be corrupt or displaying illegal wealth.
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