The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come under inquest by the House of Representatives over alleged sale of confiscated assets to looters.
This was against the backdrop of a mandate by the Reps Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loot Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilisation.
Adejoro Adeogun, the committee’s Chairman, on Tuesday, urged the EFCC to prevent looters from recovering their loot in the ongoing auction of seized and forfeited assets.
He further revealed that the panel had earlier recommended speedy disposal of recovered loot, especially fixed assets, while expressing the possibility of looters recovering the forfeited assets by proxy.
Despite the transactions, according to Adeogun, the committee would still conduct its probe.
On December 6, 2022, the EFCC began inspecting and selling 649 forfeited vehicles that were spread out over nine states and the Federal Capital Territory using designated auctioneers.
15 boats and barges in the states of Rivers, Delta, and Lagos, as well as roughly 39 cell phones, 11 laptops, and other items, were also up for auction.
Nonetheless, Adeogun bemoaned that the House lacks the wherewithal to determine how the assets should be disposed of, or to whom they should be sold.
He said, “We are aware. Part of what we wrote in our interim report is the delay in the auctioning. Some of these assets were seized seven to eight years ago. They have depreciated. It was our concern then that they were depreciating, so we advised that it should be done fast especially now that the Federal Government needs money to fund the budget. It is to make sure that they recover as much value as can be recovered.
“Look at most of the tankers and the ships that were seized. Some of them have lost up to 80 to 90 per cent of their value due to poor storage.
“Then, the enabling law allows the (anti-graft) agencies to auction directly. The EFCC is supposed to auction what it seized, subject to due process.”
Speaking on the possibility of looters buying back their loot through the auction, Adeogun said, “That is possible but we in the National Assembly have no control over that. We can’t control what they do but what we have to do is to ensure that they did the right thing.”
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