Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that multi-billion naira housing estates in Abuja have been abandoned by their owners following investigation by anti-corruption agencies in the country. The ICPC chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this in Abuja, yesterday, at a Forum of Special Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
Owasanoye, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Esa Onoja, said that in many instances where Non-Conviction Assets Forfeiture proceedings are initiated on numerous sprawling estates, nobody comes forward to claim ownership. According to him, the ICPC has initiated a number of Non-Conviction Assets Forfeiture proceedings, in line with Section 17 of the Advanced Free Fraud Act. Owasanoye explained that sections 37 and 38 of the ICPC Act also empowered the Commission to initiate such proceedings in court where there is suspicion that such assets were proceeds of crime, noting that where nobody comes forward to claim ownership after publication of Temporary Forfeiture Orders from the courts, the assets become the property of the Federal Government.
He said: “We feel that citizens should provide information and after providing information, to act as witnesses. The current administration has a very strong and viable whistle blowing policy.
“Over N.5tn has been recovered through this policy. But a lot more information is required. If we can only get just 25 percent of what has been stolen and if that money is deployed to education, health, security, I think we would be on the road to joining other nations that our citizens will like to fly to and use their resources”.