The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday at the National Open University, Jabi, Abuja, started selling off forfeited real estate assets by sealed bids to the highest bidders.
The commission said there was no successful bid for the properties in Lot 1 which comprises 24 units of luxury flats at Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, that was supposed to have been sold as a single unit.
Wilson Uwujaren, Head of Media & Publicity For EFCC admitted in a statement that there was a bidder who turned in the highest bid of N13.1 billion but the said bidder was disqualified for failure to include the stipulated 10 percent of the bid amount. Other bidders did not make the reserve price.
The commission’s secretary, Dr. George Ekpungu, announced that the Commission will open fresh bids for the properties in Lot 1 again on Friday, January 13, and will close by 12 noon the same day. Lots 2 and 3 had the same issue as there were no successful bids. Fresh bids were invited until Wednesday, January 11, 2023, and the bids will be opened on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Dr. Ekpungu said the Commission opted for this format of competitive bidding to ensure accountability and so that the government will get the right value for the assets. He said the occupants of the properties for sale have the Right of First Refusal and vowed that the commission will ensure that the previous owners of the forfeited properties will not attempt to repurchase the assets by proxy.
He commended the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa for taking the bull by the horn in seeing that those who have stolen the wealth of the country will not get the proceeds of crime and the assets were disposed off for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Director of Public Affairs of the commission, Mr. Osita Nwajah, read out the guidelines for the sale which, among others, forbids staff of the Commission and persons who have or are being prosecuted in respect of the assets from participating in the process. He also said that for a bid to be considered successful, it must be equal to or be above the reserve price, and each of the bidders were expected to enclose a bank draft for 10 percent of the bid amount.
He said successful bidders have 15 working days from the bid opening after they have been declared successful, to make full payment. Otherwise, the asset will be offered to the second highest bidder.
Based on Monday’s sale, the assets that were grouped into nine lots were restricted to lots 1, 2 and 3. The sale of properties in the other lots will continue until the final lot is disposed off, on Friday, December 13, 2023.
All that will be generated from the sale of the assets will be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Properties Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria in line with Section 69(a) of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2023.
In a paid advertorial published in five of the major newspapers in the country on December 24, 2022, the commission announced the commencement of bids for over a hundred forfeited properties in cities across Nigeria.
The exercise was witnessed by representatives of the Civil Society including the Rev David Ugolor, Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), among others.