It seems the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is trying to justify funds and properties seized from corruption cases in its custody.
Reports say the agency has attracted about N1,956,007,975.81 into government’s coffers as interest from funds and properties sized from a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, and other suspects under investigation or trial.
A purported document from the EFCC shows that seized properties from the founder of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Erastus Akingbola, former Edo State Governor Lucky Igbinedion, former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye and seven other highly-placed individuals under investigation, have yielded about N185.6million as rents for government.
Others, whose properties and monies have earned money for the government, include: Alhaji Tukur Muazu, Bayo Lawal, Kayode Ojuri, Timothy Akani, Esai Dangabar, Aliyu Bello and John Yusuf Yakubu.
There have been allegations against the commission that funds in its custody were unaccounted for, and that they were being diverted to private pockets, an allegation that followed the immediate past chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Lamorde.
It is believed in some quarters that the new records were put together following the controversy generated by the assets seized from the former IGP, and allegations of its usage, as critics alleged that the cash and assets seized from Balogun had been re-looted.
The EFCC records sighted says in part that: “A total of 15 Spring Bank accounts were forfeited by Mr. Tafa Balogun. Of this number, four accounts had NIL (zero) balance.
“The total balance in the remaining 11 accounts as of January 2005 was N1, 226,518,163.09. In addition to this, seven treasury bills/commercial papers in the same bank had a total balance of N1, 017, 178, 719.42.
“The two added together came up to N2, 243,696,882.51. With the addition of the accrued interest of N14, 403,634.36, the figure came to N2, 258,100,516.87.
“This sum was what was paid to the commission by Spring Bank and eventually remitted to the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance.”
But the commission said that some assets of the former IGP were yet to be disposed of because of legal disputes.
Continuing, the EFCC document stated that: “There were legal issues on some of the properties recovered from Tafa Balogun. Other claimants emerged, with claims to the properties. The cases include the property at Plot 2220 Suez Crescent, Zone 4, Abuja, which the Commission eventually won in 2013, while the other involved a property at Plot 1488, Fugar Street, Asokoro which case the Commission lost in 2014.
” Apart from the Fugar Street Asokoro property that is now a subject of appeal by the EFCC; three other properties forfeited by Tafa Balogun are yet to be disposed of. One of the properties is located at Plot 110, Tunis Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
“Meanwhile, the total sum of N46,358,393.15 generated from the management of the property by Diya Fatimilehin & Co since 2009 was remitted to the Commission at various times.
“The remitted sum is in the Commission’s recovery account.
“The remaining two properties which appeared on the forfeiture order as Plot 75, Asokoro and Plot 2262B Maitama A6 District, Abuja, are also subject of legal disputes.”
The EFCC also admitted that it raked in about N1,956,007,975.81 from forfeited funds placed in interest yielding accounts.
It says: “The placement of forfeited monies in interest yielding accounts is not an entirely new idea. The court in various rulings ordered some funds to be placed in interest yielding accounts.
“Rather than warehousing forfeited funds in current accounts for a long period, the commission lodged such funds, including those of Tafa Balogun, in interest yielding accounts.
“The interest element is always in line with CBN Cash Reserve Ratio and not fixed. Not a single kobo is taken out by the commission under this initiative.”
Meanwhile, about N185.6million was collected as rents from seized properties of Erastus Akingbola, Lucky Igbinedion, Alh. Tukur Muazu, Bayo Lawal, Kayode Ojuri, Timothy Akani, Esai Dangabar, Aliyu Bello, Joshua Chibi Dariye and John Yusuf Yakubu.
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