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EFCC, ICPC, others under lawmakers’ scrutiny over recovered Loots

EFCC ICPC others under lawmakers scrutiny over recovered Loots

To intensify the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption, the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots on Wednesday queried the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) as well as other relevant agencies over the assets.

Others grilled by the committee included the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund in Abuja, at the main bowl of the National Assembly.

Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, told the Investigative Committee that he was yet to refresh his memory regarding the total amount recovered by the agency, adding; “the agency have available, records of amount recovered.”

Answering questions on the much celebrated $43 million loot recovered from Ikoyi in 2017, Bawa said the money had been forfeited to the Federal Government coffer, adding that; “only monies forfeited and had gone to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account could be utilised by the Federal Government.

“The EFCC only relied on annual budget for its operational cost, we do not take money from recovered loot for operations.”

The EFCC Chairman later pleaded that he should be excused by the committee to attend to another serious pressing engagement which got the committee angry.

Chairman of the Committee, Adejora Adeogun told the EFCC chairman that he was undermining the powers of the committee, but the Chairman immediately apologised, pleading for understanding.

Adeogun, however, granted him the requested permission saying, “we will release you for the urgent meeting but you must answer the questions and return by 3.00 pm same day.”

Prof Bolaji Owasanloye, Chairman, ICPC, told the Committee that the Commission had so far, recovered N7.5 billion looted fund, adding that it currently had N2.1 billion left.

He said the sum of N5.5 billion had gone to the Federal Government from the recovered loot, noting that it was disturbing that the system of assets recovery had not been efficient in terms of record.

Owasanloye said that the ICPC had an assets recovery account where recovered loots were usually deposited, as the commission had no business with consolidated revenue fund.

He maintained that the account of the commission was opened and always accessible to the Federal Government and the Minister of Finance, stressing that there were assets the commission would not dispose off, until investigations were concluded and the fund remitted to the government coffer.

According to him, if government losses the case, the assets will definitely go back to the owners.

Uche Orji, Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, said about $311 million had been recovered by the agency, but had been kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He was however asked to come back for further clarification, for failing to provide some documents that could aid in the investigation.

Also, Commandant General of NSCDS, Ahmed Audi said the invitation letter to the corps, to appear over recovery of loots was not clear, but had to seek interpretation from its legal department, asking for a month to enable him put himself together.

He was given two weeks to do the needful and report back.

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