Reps panel investigates seized assets by anti-graft agencies

House of representatives during plenary. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of House of Reps.]
House of representatives during plenary. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of House of Reps.]

A House of Representatives panel has commenced investigation into the recovered assets by various anti-graft agencies in Nigeria.

The ad-hoc panel, chaired by Adeogun Adejoroh (APC, Ondo), is to Identify the location and custodian of the recovered assets, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Also, the panel is to take an inventory of recovered assets both in cash and materials and determine the status of the recovered materials.

The investigation by the panel is coming weeks after the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was accused of failing to give a proper account of 332 out of the 836 properties recovered by the agency prior to 2018.

A report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) alleged massive wastage and deterioration of physical assets including landed property, cars and vessels recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.

It also noted with concern the failure to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow.

Mr Magu has denied any wrongdoing.

The PCARA was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and submitted its report in 2018. Its content as it relates to Mr Magu was only recently leaked to the media through the News Agency of Nigeria.

Mr Magu is currently being investigated by a panel headed by Ayo Salami, former president of the appeal court, over allegations of corruption and insubordination levelled against him.

Speaking at the House committee’s inaugural hearing last week, the chairman of the committee said the House of Reps is embarking on this investigation with a view to complementing ongoing efforts by the executive to seek new revenue sources and eliminate waste.

“The nation is going through economic challenges as sources of revenue has reduced, yet it has valuable assets that were recovered from the proceeds of crime.

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“Government agencies are paying billions of Naira as rent whereas houses recovered and forfeited to government from proceeds of crime are wasting away.”

“Hundreds of millions are used to acquire cars whereas thousands of seized cars and recovered automobiles are wasting away at the parking lots of police, customs, NDLEA, EFCC and ICPC formations.”

He said the goal is to evaluate the recovered assets management process with a view to introducing appropriate legislation that would make the management of recovered assets cost and operationally efficient, transparent, accountable to the people and inspire trust and confidence in the recovered asset management process.

Part of the committee’s mandate is to also ascertain the value of recovered items, Identify government agencies that are occupying rental properties and evaluate the annual cost such rentals.

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The committee is expected to continue its sitting this week.


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