By Hamilton Nwosa(Head, The New Diplomat’s Polling, Research & Data desk)
The inter-ministerial committee on the disposal of assets forfeited to the federal government, has begun the process of selling the assets in 25 locations nationwide.
Chairman of the committee, Dayo Apata, made this known on Tuesday at a press conference.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 9, inaugurated the committee following a presidential directive of October 27, recognising the need for the office of the attorney-general of the federation to coordinate and oversee a uniform process or common platform for the recovery, management and sale of all assets forfeited to the federal government.
Apata said the assets recovery and disposal process were part of the administration of criminal justice.
He said the committee comprising representatives from the presidency, police, navy, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and ministries of finance, justice, works and housing, among others, is working towards completing its assignment within six months.
Some of the assets to be sold include landed properties, plants, machinery, motor vehicles and jewelry.
“It needs to be emphasized that asset recovery and disposal constitutes an integral part of the administration of criminal justice which are all within the purview of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation,” he said
He said the committee seeks to put an end to poor management and wastage of assets which prevents government from realizing the full benefits of the forfeiture.
The chairman added that the committee made publications in the federal tenders journal and two (2) national newspapers (ThisDay and the Daily Trust) on February 1, 2021 to kick-start the disposal process.
“Please note that the Committee intends to engage valuers and auctioneers as part of the process in the disposal of assets forfeited to the Federal Government and the list of assets will be published accordingly. Interested persons/firms are encouraged to look out for the publication and make submissions in the required format and within the specified timelines,” he said.
Although the statement was silent on the particular assets, EFCC had in the past secured court approval for final forfeiture of some assets.
In 2019, a federal high court in Lagos ordered the permanent forfeiture of $40 million worth of jewellery seized from the residence of Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former minister of petroleum resources.
In the same year, a court ordered the permanent seizure of $8.4 million (about N3billion) and N9.2 billion, belonging to Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
A final forfeiture of Dews of Hope Hospital, Owerri, a N1.5 billion state-of-the-art 200-bed hospital, allegedly linked to an aide of Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo state and serving senator, was granted.
After the press briefing, the inter-ministerial committee visited four locations including a house at 14 Adzope Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, a property recovered from Alex Badeh, a former chief of air staff and later chief of defence staff.