The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun the sales of 160 houses and lands worth billions of naira spread across highbrow areas in Lagos, Abuja and 14 other states.
Prospective buyers including those occupying the listed buildings that have no case with EFCC and have not been convicted can bid for any of the property until January 9, 2023, when the auction closes, the anti-graft agency said.
The auction of the properties came in the wake of the successful auction of 649 vehicles in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ilorin and other locations.
Daily Trust reports that most of the properties slated for auction belong to government officials who used their offices to enrich themselves and their cronies by siphoning public funds.
N/Assembly raises 2023 budget by N1.3trn
NIGERIA DAILY: Impact Of APC National Chairman’s Statement On 2023 Elections
Among the properties slated for auction are those cornered by the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and those procured by a former head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
On December 15, 2022, EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa said the anti-graft agency had auctioned over 649 vehicles and was ready to auction 160 forfeited flats and apartments as well as parcels of land in 16 locations in the country.
Speaking at the 62nd Session of the State House Media Briefing at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, Bawa said unlike the public auction of vehicles, some occupants of some of the properties including agencies of government would be given right of first refusal in the sale.
Daily Trust obtained the properties’ auction notice on Monday and the analysis revealed the locations and descriptions of the buildings on offer.
EFCC said the exercise was a continuation of the auction scheduled to take place across the commands of the commission and was done in line with the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004; Public Procurement Act, 2007 and the Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022.
There are 58 of the properties to be auctioned in Lagos, 39 in Abuja while 44 real estate properties are in Rivers, Kaduna and nine other states, according to Daily Trust analysis of the auction document.
Diezani, ex-NIA dg’s houses, others up for grabs
In Lagos, 58 buildings are on sale around the Banana Island in Ikoyi, Lekki, Yaba, among others. Analysis of the record indicates that the anti-graft agency is shopping for buyers for 18 units of three-bedroom houses in Banana Island, Ikoyi in Lagos. The property was forfeited by Diezani after EFCC seized it in 2017. The property Building 3, Block B, is a 15-storey edifice comprising 18 flats and 6 penthouses at Foreshore Estate.
According to reports, it was acquired by the former minister between 2011 and 2012 at $37.5m from the developers, YF Construction Development and Real Estate. EFCC is also selling off six units of 4-bedroom flats within the same location.
In the Yaba area of Lagos, EFCC is auctioning nine units of 4-bedroom terrace apartments at Thorburn Avenue. 10 units of 3-bedroom flats are also up for grabs as well as two units of 2-bedroom flats within the same location in Lagos; the properties were also traced to Diezani.
Around Ikoyi and Lekki, 10 properties and three lands have been mapped for sale in the next two weeks by the EFCC. Topping these is the 4-bedroom luxury apartment at No. 16, Osborne Road, Flat 7B Osborne Towers, Ikoyi.
The anti-graft agency had recovered $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218, 000 with a Federal High Court ordering the forfeiture of the funds to the federal government in 2017 from the apartment.
Osborne Towers was built by a former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu but the apartment was sold to Oke, who acquired it for $1.658 million, according to EFCC. Beside these, there are three other parcels of lands it is selling around Lekki and Eti-Osa.
In Rivers State, EFCC is selling off 16 units of 4-bedroom terrace apartments at Heritage Court Estate in Port Harcourt to a single buyer; the bid also has a 500kVA generator and a 40,000-litre petrol tank. These houses were also seized from Diezani.
In Abuja, the anti-graft agency is auctioning 34 apartments and five parcels of land. The apartments comprise 6-bed, 5-bed, 4-bedrooms, 3-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms at Kubwa, Wuse 2, Dakwo, Lugbe and a two-storey building in Gwarinpa. The five plots of land are in Apo, Mbora District, Daki Biyu, Bwari and another near the airport at the Aviation Village. Most of these houses were seized from a former Assistant Director in the Federal Civil Service, John Yakubu Yusuf, relating to fraud at the Police Pension Fund.
EFCC is also selling seven plots of land and apartments in Anambra, Ebonyi and Gombe states. Six of the lands are in Anambra and one in Ebonyi and a 3-bedroom real estate in Gombe. They were seized from state government officials as well as surveyors and real estate dealers.
There are 21 properties for sale in Edo, Delta, Rivers, Kaduna, Kwara, Cross River, Oyo and Osun states.
Right of first refusal
According to the EFCC notice, anyone or corporate entity that will buy any of the property must not have been or is being prosecuted by the EFCC or have been convicted. The anti-graft agency also prohibited its staff from participating while it gave the right of first refusal to people living in such property on tendering evidence of valid tenancy agreement and up to date rent payment.
According to EFCC, the bid process, which is ongoing, will end Monday, 9th January, 2023.
How cars worth millions were auctioned in Dec
Daily Trust reports that EFCC had auctioned over 600 vehicles with 435 of them auctioned in Lagos.
It also auctioned over 190 vehicles and electronic devices at its zonal offices in Abuja, Benin, Port Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan and Uyo, all within December 2022.
On December 19, 2022, EFCC auctioned seven cars, which are subjects of final forfeiture orders in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Daily Trust reports that this is not the first time EFCC is auctioning forfeited assets. On December 19, 2019, it auctioned 244 vehicles forfeited to the federal government by illegal oil dealers using registered auctioneers.
We’ll announce revenue from sales soon – Spokesman
When contacted on the amount generated so far from the auction of the 649 vehicles, the spokesman of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, said the exact figure was yet to be available as the auction was ongoing.
“The auction processes are still ongoing, kindly be patient with us. We shall make every request available upon conclusion,” Uwujaren said via telephone interview. Although there were some court injunctions against the sale of some of the forfeited items, Uwujaren said the commission would respond to court summons if invited on that.
“There is nothing to comment on this. The court is an open place for anybody. It is there for anybody to approach. The commission will willingly honour any court summons on any of these cases,” he said.
Auction to tackle corrupt tendencies – Experts
Experts have told Daily Trust that the auction of forfeited properties by the anti-graft agency was key to reducing corrupt tendencies among politicians and businessmen.
An economist at the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mr Joseph Momoh, said the auction of cars and other items by the EFCC was the right thing to do rather than allowing the items to lie fallow.
“As such, when seizures are made, the EFCC liaises with other relevant agencies like the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to ensure that it is in conformity with the laws of the land,” Momoh said.
Speaking further, he cautioned against sharp practices in the exercise while calling on the chairman of the EFCC to ensure that transparency and due diligence were followed in the exercise.
Speaking on the development, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, urged the EFCC to continue to carry out this auction in accordance with laid down rules.
According to him, the CISLAC had been advocating for the enactment of the law to ensure more transparent and accountable assets management and utilisation in Nigeria.
“CISLAC believes that if the commission is able to do this properly without abuse of the due process, then Nigerians would have more confidence in the commission and its staff.
“Other government agencies must also join hands to ensure public auction followed due process as contained in the Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act.
“The ongoing auction may contribute to reducing instances of corruption by public officials who usually use their position to engage in corruption. Once they don’t benefit from the money or assets they have stolen and the court confiscates any assets from them, then they will not have the incentive to continue looting public funds and assets,” Rafsanjani said.
Also, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, told Daily Trust that the auction of properties and assets, which are proceeds of corrupt activities by EFCC is a stop gap measure, which comes with its contradiction.
“If there were proceeds of crime legislation in place, it would have been more effective for a separate body, which has the specialty to take charge of the disposal of the assets. EFCC is not an auctioneer and should be allowed to face its mandate squarely.
“Turning the anti-graft agencies into auctioning houses could expose them to conflict of interest, which could in the long run undermine the anti-graft crusade,” he said.
By Simon E. Sunday, Philip S. Clement, Idowu Isamotu & Abbas Jimoh