The inter-ministerial committee set up to dispose off assets that have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government said it has such assets in 25 locations across the country so far.
Dayo Apata, who chairs the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the Federal Government (ICDAFG), led an inspection tour to four of the locations in Abuja. after a press briefing on the activities of the committee on Tuesday.
One of the four locations visited by the committee was a house at 14 Adzope Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, a property recovered from a former Chief of Air Staff and later Chief of Defence Staff, the late Alex Badeh.
Mr Badeh, who retired as an air chief marshal in July 2015, was accused of diverting funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force and using the proceeds to acquire choice houses in Abuja and other places.
He was being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for money laundering until when he was killed in an ambush along Keffi-Abuja Expressway on December 18, 2018.
Following a plea bargain entered into by the second defendant, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, after Mr Badeh’s death, the trial judge, Mr Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on March 4, 2019, ordered the permanent forfeiture of some of the landed assets linked to the deceased including the one visited by the ICDAFG on Tuesday.
Committee to sell assets within six months
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, on November 9, 2020, inaugurated the Mr Apata-led committee with a mandate to collate and dispose of all assets that had been permanently forfeited to the Federal Government within six months.
Mr Apata, who is the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, said his committee was expected to carry out the disposal of assets, including, landed property, plants, machinery, vehicles, electronics, furniture and equipment.
The rest of such assets, according to him are, water vessels (canoes, boats, barges and ship), jewelry, ornaments and clothing materials.
He said as of Tuesday, the committee “has collated and is still updating the list of assets that have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
He added that the committee “has noted that the forfeited assets are currently situated in 25 locations”.
He said committee would be embarking on “onsite verification/auditing” of all the forfeited assets to confirm their existence and ascertain their current state.”
He said the committee had also “sought the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the asset valuation process in line with extant regulations”.
Mr Apata also said the committee made publications in the Federal Government Tenders Journal and it two newspapers – This Day and Daily Trust – on February 1, 2021 “to kick-start the disposal process.”
He said the committee would “engage valuers, auctioneers as part of the process in the disposal of assets forfeited to the Federal Government,” and that “the list of assets will be published accordingly”.
“Interested persons persons/firms are encouraged to look out for the publication and make submissions in the required format and within the specified timelines,” he added.
Locations visited by committee
Other locations visited by the committee on Tuesday were EFCC’s vehicle dump site near the National Mosque, a 34-roomed hotel, The Platinum Residence Exquisite Luxury Accommodation, located in AMSSCO Platinum City, Galadimawa, and a house located at 6 Ethiope Close Maitama.
A drop in the ocean
The 25 locations of forfeited assets identified by the committee in almost two months of its inauguration appear to be a far cry from the true state of permanent forfeitures which the agencies, particularly the EFCC, often claim to have recorded.
In Mr Badeh’s case alone, up to six houses were permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The assets are, a mansion at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja, shopping mall at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent Cadastral Zone A07, Wuse II, Abuja, duplex at No. 19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, a duplex situate at No. 14, Adzope Crescent, Off Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, and semi-detached duplex situate at No. 8A, Embu Street, by Sigma Apartment Wuse II, Abuja.
Also $1,000,000.00 recovered from No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja, was forfeited along with the property.
The inauguration of the ICDAFG by Mr Malami has drawn criticisms from those who say he lacks the power to set it up.
The critics also argued that the committee tended to usurp the statutory powers of EFCC and other law enforcement agencies to seize assets, manage, and dispose of them.
But Mr Apata said on Tuesday that Mr Malami inaugurated the committee in line with a presidential directive.
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