The House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to investigate the status of all seized and sold assets by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since its inception, valued at over N2 trillion.
The House took this decision after adopting a motion sponsored by Hon. Toby Okechukwu and 15 of his colleagues.
According to the sponsors of the motion, the EFCC had in the past confiscated over 200 mansions through 46 forfeiture court orders without any concise account of the state of the assets.
Presenting the motion, Okechukwu argued that the EFCC had, within its mandate, at many times confiscated, through court orders, assets from accused and convicted persons, including prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations.
He noted that the Assets Forfeiture Unit of the anti-graft agency was set up in 2008 with the mandate of ensuring that all assets forfeited to the federal government through the EFCC were identified and verifiable.
According to him, these forfeited assets, estimated at over N2 trillion, comprised landed properties and business concerns, bank accounts, shares in blue chip companies, exotic vehicles, fuel stations, hotels, warehouses, shopping malls, schools, bakeries, housing estates and radio stations in and outside Nigeria.
The lawmaker lamented that there have been reports of vandalism, abandonment and wastage of some of these seized assets.
He expressed dismay that there was lack of clarity as to the utilisation of these assets while litigations on the substantive corruption cases were ongoing in the courts.
He also said that there has been a reported breach of the seal of the EFCC and attempts at unlawful and forceful repossession by those whose properties have been confiscated.
Okechukwu told his colleagues that the House has a challenge to take a look at the reported rot of over 400 cars seized from some prominent Nigerians.
According to him, the right thing that should have been done was for these assets to be put under the management of professional managers who could have used them to generate revenue for the country.
Although the House commended the EFCC for its diligence in the process of obtaining forfeiture order through the courts, the lawmakers resolved that there was need for proper management of these assets, hence the investigation.