The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Monday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to account for all the seized assets at its disposal even as the Representatives warned that it will not hesitate to declare two former chairman of the commission wanted over their refusal to appear before the Representatives.
Speaking at a three-day investigative public by the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotic and Financial Crimes, on all the seized items with the EFCC.
Tambuwal said a situation where monies, landed properties and business concerns estimated at N2 trillion is not properly managed is unacceptable.
Also the National rug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said at the hearing that it recovered over N1.8 trillion in different currencies and 70 cases for the EFCC between 2006 and 2013.
“I have learnt that between 2003 and now, the EFCC has confiscated over 200 mansions and large sums of money through 46 forfeiture court orders. These landed property, monies, and business concerns which were estimated to be worth in excess of two trillion naira, included bank accounts, shares in blue chip companies, exotic vehicles, fuel stations, holdings, warehouses and shopping malls among others.
“However, there have been many reported cases of vandalism, improper storage, abandonment and waste. We have reports that some of these properties have fallen into disrepair and that some cannot even be accounted for. We cannot allow a situation whereby over 400 cars seized through the diligence of the EFCC for instance continue to rot away. We have a vicarious responsibility to ensure that assets seized through forfeiture court orders are prudently and carefully manage to avoid waste and to ensure they are maximally disposed of for the benefit of the public. It is not enough to just seize assets, we need to ensure that they are quickly utilized as part of the restitution for the original crime,” said Tambuwal who was represented by the Deputy Leader of the House Honourable Leo Ogor.
Chairman of committee Honourable Jagaba Adam Jagaba, said the hearing was sequel to the resolution of the House on 28th February, 2013 where the committee was mandated to carry out the investigation and report back to the House within four weeks.
He however expressed annoyance with the refusal of two former chairmen of the EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Mrs Farida Waziri to appear before the committee to answer questions over the whereabouts of seized and recovered assets by EFCC from convicted individuals including monies under their headship.
While Ribadu was pioneer Chairman of the Commission between 2003 to 2008, making 270 convictions, Waziri presided between 2008 and November, 2011 until she was replaced by Ibrahim Lamorde.
“I am sounding this warning to those we have summoned and refused to come, according to section 89 (c) of the constitution, we have the legislative power, in fact we can declare you wanted including other agencies that are not here. You cannot treat the National Assembly the way you want. They all have up to Wednesday this week to appear by 10am,” Jagaba said.
NDLEA chairman, Ahmadu Giade, said the agency between January 2006 and January 2013 has investigated and transferred 70 cases involving money laundering and narcotics to the EFCC apart from N1, 841, 225, 239 in different currencies.
Giade gave the breakdown as N27, 822, 410, $2, 832, 878 (N441, 928, 968) and $7, 144, 166 fake dollars (N1, 114, 489, 896); £20, 300 (N4, 872, 000) and £938, 487 fake (N225, 236, 880); €11, 266 (N2, 309, 530) and €6, 400 fake (N1, 312, 000); CFA93, 750, 517 (N28, 125, 155) and five Ceddis (N400).