Date: 20th September, 2017
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has commended the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, for the rigorous work it has embarked upon in the investigation and review of ownership of several choice property dotting the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, and especially in Abuja and has urged the commission to tighten all investigations linked to property ownership. The call, made by Erhisohwode Assurance, programme officer for the ANEEJ property project, came in the light of recent reports revealing the extent of alleged stolen public monies being laundered through property.
‘A Stolen Asset Recovery, StAR, Report published by the World Bank and the UNODC in 2014 has said that most monies being used for the acquisition of land and the building of property worldwide comes from proceeds of crime. To this end therefore, we reiterate our call on the Federal government to tighten investigations related to property to use watertight evidence to bring such individuals who launder ill-gotten monies through property’, Erhisohwode said.
Several instances wherein ill-gotten wealth have been allegedly used to procure property abound. Past public servants are alleged to own mansions in Dubai put at a cost of N7.1 billion, and property dotting the nooks and crannies of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. There is also a case involving a former Chief of Staff who allegedly spent the sum of N1.4billion (One Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) allegedly stolen from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja. For issues related to investigations, these property have not been seized and confiscated. The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has only just asked for the freezing of humongous sums, $5.9m and N2, 421,953,522.78, belonging to public servants and their spouses, to the Federal Government.
‘It is in the light of these overwhelming scenarios that we recommend that the Federal government exploit the fullest benefit of our anti money-laundry laws, together with recent treaties Nigeria has just signed to wrest these property from those who have used stolen wealth to procure same. Several of those property can be converted to public use, especially for the development of critical areas of our economy – Education, ICT, Agricultural and the Health sectors. ANEEJ is pleased that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, recently announced the creation of special courts for hearing and quick determination of cases related to money laundering and allied financial and corruption cases’, Erhisohwode maintained.
Link to publication with The Nation Newspaper here: http://thenationonlineng.net/tighten-investigations-linked-property/