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House of Reps orders audit of assets seized by EFCC

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by Paschal Emeka
The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Financial Crimes to audit all assets confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, including those already forfeited to the Federal Government as proceeds of crime.
In a resolution passed on Tuesday in Abuja, the House listed such assets to include cash, “moveable and immovable” items like cars and landed properties.
It gave the committee six weeks to conduct the audit and ascertain the “legality of their current values and make appropriate recommendations to the House”.
This resolution was passed following a motion moved by the lawmaker representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Mr. Babajimi Benson.
Benson had observed that most assets seized by the anti-graft agency seem to have been left to decay or there was lack of adequate information on the state of the assets.
Assets seized by the EFCC are kept in its custody while investigations or prosecution of offenders are ongoing and become forfeited assets once the agency secures a favourable court judgment.
However, the lawmakers observed that the absence of a reliable inventory on such assets left Nigerians wondering about what became of them.
In his contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, informed his colleagues that many
Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs rarely kept a register of seized assets.
He argued that without an inventory, officials could easily steal the assets and falsify reports on their status.
Chinda added that agencies went as far as destroying seized assets just to cover up the theft of such properties.
According to the Rivers-born lawmaker, “Our MDAs don’t maintain asset registers.
“This issue is not about the EFCC alone. They can claim to have destroyed seized assets just to cover up other things; like the Nigeria Customs Service seizing bags of rice and destroying them.
“Why are they destroying the rice when we have internally displaced persons in camps all over the place?” he queried.


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