The new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdurasheed Bawa, may be in big trouble, over the circumstances surrounding the transfer of some forfeited assets to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN,
The revelation came on the heels of the invitation by the House of Representatives to the EFCC Chairman.
Also to appear before an Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Reps., set up to compile and review projects and fixed assets belonging to the Federal Government across Nigeria, are the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, as well as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mohammed Bello.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ademorin Kuye, noted that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor-General of the Federation, was supposed to appear before the Lawmakers, in company of some Directors, on Thursday, but did not show up.
The Acting Director of Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Management, EFCC, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, appeared before the Committee, but the Lawmakers expressed their displeasure with the information provided.
He said that while forfeited assets have been transferred to the Office of the Attorney-General, OAGF, Operatives of the Commission still guarded the properties.
Yusuf, while responding to some of the questions from the Lawmakers, said: “The EFCC has not really undertaken any serious disposal of assets. The only asset that was disposed of, was the trucks which were seized in Port Harcourt (Rivers State capital).
“All the finally forfeited assets – real estate – were all intact until this new regulation came into effect, which was made by the Honourable Attorney-General that requires us to transfer all forfeited assets to the Office of the AGF for management. That regulation was made in October 2019 and we have complied with that; we have forwarded the lists and court orders for all finally forfeited assets to the Office of the AGF for management.”
He also noted that President Muhammadu Buhari set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on disposal of forfeited assets with a 6-month timeframe, and have been meeting to complete the assignment.
Kuye, however, faulted the Regulation introduced by AGF Malami, saying that it breached Section 31 of the EFCC Act, particularly sub-sections 1 and 4.
A member of the Committee, Lynda Ikpeazu, demanded the list of assets already transferred to the OAGF, as well as the timeline of those transfers.
Yusuf, nonetheless, said that what he meant by ‘not seriously disposed’, was that there are forfeitures, including real estate and vessels, and it was expected that the assets would be disposed of.
The Chairman of the Committee, while expressing his dissatisfaction with the development, decried that the assets were losing value.
The House had on March 17, 2020, constituted the Committee, with the mandate to investigate the status, use, and current state of all Federal Government properties in all parts of the country.
The move was to ensure their recovery, completion, and proper management for maximum utilisation and revenue generation from them.