Nigeria has commenced the process for the sale of assets recovered from corrupt persons, including $40 million worth of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone belonging to runaway former oil minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Aside immovable items, such as houses, recovered from fugitive Alison-Madueke, now hiding in the UK, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hauled from her house, hundreds of bangles, rings, earrings, necklaces and watches.
Alison-Madueke, was petroleum minister from 2011 to 2015, and was arraigned in absentia by EFCC for money laundering in 2017.
Other items recovered from various convict are houses, vehicles, boats, ships, plants and machinery as well as electronics and furniture.
The assets were either recovered or forfeited by suspects facing corruption charges.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, on February 2, 2021 called on interested persons and or firms to look out for its publication and “make submissions in the required format and within the specified timelines” to buy the assets,
He explained that the disposal of the assets was in line with the mandate of a committee approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to oversee the sale and the inherent prosecutorial powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Apata, who is serves as chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, promised to be transparent and accountable in the disposal of assets recovered from looters.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, inaugurated the inter-ministerial committee in November 2020 in compliance with the president’s directive that the committee should dispose of the forfeited assets within six months.
At the ceremony, Malami said the setting up of the committee was borne out of the president’s directive in October 2018 following recommendations of the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets and a need for efficient management of the assets.
“It is aimed at ensuring proper coordination of the disposal of the federal government’s assets and for promoting a uniform, harmonised and transparent procedure to safeguard the assets recovered by the relevant agencies in line with the anti-corruption drive of this administration.
“Your mandate is to ensure the expedient disposal of all FGN forfeited assets and generate revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, I wish to solicit the cooperation of all members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee in that respect.”
Apata, however, assured the public that the disposal of the assets will be carried out in a very transparent manner.
He stated that the committee had already kick-started the process on February 1, 2021, with publications in the Federal Tenders Journal and two national newspapers.
The forfeited assets, Apata added, are currently situated in 25 locations across the country.
To achieve transparency, Apata said in Abuja that the committee “intends to engage valuers and auctioneers as part of the disposal process.”
According to him, members of the committee have completed the conflict of interest and non-disclosure forms, while the committee has also adopted a communication and media strategy to keep the public abreast of its activities.
Apata said: “We have just put up advert for estate valuers, it’s after the valuation exercise that we can know in specific terms the figures.”
The Federal Government gave the Committee six months to sell off the properties in its possession.
Malami, gave the deadline in November 2021 at the inauguration of the 22-member panel in Abuja.
According to him, the guidelines for the disposal of the items have been released to ensure coordination and transparency in the entire process.
“It is my pleasure to note that Mr. President approved the composition of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Federal Government of Nigeria’s Forfeited Assets on October 27, 2020 which we are inaugurating today (yesterday).
The minister stated that the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019; Standard Operating Procedures and terms of reference were handy for the panel to speedily execute its job.