Account for N2tr seized assets, Tambuwal tells EFCC

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Monday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to account for all the seized assets at its disposal.
The House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes also warned that it will not hesitate to declare two former chairmen of the EFCC wanted following their refusal to appear before the panel.
Speaking at a three-day investigative public hearing by the committee on all the seized assets that are with the EFCC, Tambuwal said a situation where monies, landed properties and business concerns estimated at N2 trillion were not properly managed was unacceptable.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) also said at the hearing that it recovered over N1.8 trillion in different currencies and 70 cases for the EFCC between 2006 and 2013.
“I have learnt that between 2003 and now, the EFCC has confiscated over 200 mansions and large sums of money through 46 forfeiture court orders.
“These landed properties, monies, and business concerns which were estimated to be worth in excess of N2 trillion, included bank accounts, shares in blue chip companies, exotic vehicles, fuel stations, holdings, warehouses and shopping malls among others.
“However, there have been many reported cases of vandalism, improper storage, abandonment and waste. We have reports that some of these properties have fallen into disrepair and that some cannot even be accounted for.
“We cannot allow a situation whereby over 400 cars seized through the diligence of the EFCC for instance will continue to rot away.
“We have a vicarious responsibility to ensure that assets seized through forfeiture court orders are prudently and carefully managed to avoid waste and to ensure they are maximally disposed of for the benefit of the public.
“It is not enough to just seize assets, we need to ensure that they are quickly utilised as part of the restitution for the original crime,” Tambuwal who was represented by Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, said.
Chairman of the committee, Adam Jagaba, said the hearing was sequel to the resolution of the House on February 28 where the committee was mandated to carry out the investigation and report back within four weeks.
He, however, expressed annoyance with the refusal of two former chairmen of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu and Farida Waziri, to appear before the committee to answer questions over the whereabouts of seized and recovered assets from convicted individuals, including monies.
While Ribadu was the pioneer chairman of the commission between 2003 and 2008, making 270 convictions, Waziri presided between 2008 and November 2011 when she was replaced by the incumbent Ibrahim Lamorde.
“I am sounding this warning to those we have summoned and refused to come, according to Section 89 (c) of the Constitution, we have the legislative power, in fact we can declare you wanted, including other agencies that are not here.
“You cannot treat the National Assembly the way you want. They all have up to Wednesday this week to appear by 10 a.m.,” Jagaba threatened.
NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, said his agency between January 2006 and January 2013 investigated and transferred 70 cases involving money laundering and narcotics to the EFCC apart from N1,841,225,239 in different currencies.

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