ICPC wants NDDC director to forfeit filling station, warehouse acquired ‘fraudulently’

A Nigerian anti-corruption agency has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja for an interim order to seize a petrol station and a warehouse traced to Solomon Ita, a former director in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) disclosed this in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, on Tuesday.

The anti-graft agency had accused Mr Ita of acquiring the properties with the proceeds of corruption.

The commission named Mr Ita’s targeted properties as Agare Wills Petroleum/ Gas Station Ltd and Agare Wills Event Centre and Warehouse, all located on Parliamentary Extension Expressway, Calabar.

According to the commission, the request for the interim forfeiture is pursuant to Section Section 6 (6) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

The commission said the director could not show evidence that the properties were obtained with his legitimate earnings.

The ICPC also accused Mr Ita of allegedly using not-for-profit organisations as fronts to embezzle government money for his personal use.

”The director was accused of using Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) as fronts to embezzle government money, which could have been used to acquire the properties under contention.”

The commission added that Investigation revealed that Mr Ita had facilitated the payment of N20 million into the account of one of the NGOs which was transferred to a Zenith bank account of a third party.

”The third-party, while acting on instructions from the accused, was said to have transferred the same amount to one Ita Williams Okpa, for onward handing over to the director.

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Another illegal transaction of N45 million was allegedly made through the same channel for his personal use.

The commission noted that it was seeking the order of interim forfeiture of the properties to stop the director from getting access to the funds

Besides being accused of using shell NGOs to siphon funds from his employer, the ICPC also accused Mr Ita of running private businesses while still a director with NDDC.

It said the 1999 Constitution prohibits a civil servant from engaging or participating “in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade, but nothing in this subparagraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming.”

The ICPC, however, said, the filling station at the point of seizure has been sold off and proceeds remitted to the ICPC Recovery Account in CBN.

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