The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today, January 9, 2023 in Abuja, commenced the sale of forfeited real estate assets by sealed bids, to the highest bidders. At today’s session, there was no successful bid for the properties in Lot 1 comprising 24 units of luxury flats at Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, which was expected to be sold as a single unit. A bidder who turned in the highest bid of N13.1 billion was disqualified for failure to include the stipulated 10% of the bid amount. Other bidders did not make the reserve price. Consequently, Secretary to the Commission, Dr. George Ekpungu announced the Commission will open fresh bids for the properties in Lot 1. The bids will close by 12 pm on Friday, January 13, 2023, while the bid opening will be done the same day.
Also, there were no successful bids in Lots 2 and 3. Fresh bids were invited until Wednesday, January 11, 2023 and the bids will be opened on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Speaking earlier while declaring the exercise open, Dr. Ekpungu had explained that the Commission adopted the format of competitive bidding to ensure accountability, that the government gets the right value for the assets. He further disclosed that occupants of the properties for sale have the Right of First Refusal even as he vowed that the Commission will ensure that former owners of the forfeited properties do not attempt to repurchase the assets by proxy. “If you have information about any bid by owners of the assets, please let the Commission know, and we will take appropriate action, including possible prosecution, “he said.
He further commended the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa for taking the bull by the horn in ensuring that those who have stolen the wealth of the country were denied the proceeds of crime and the assets disposed of for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Director 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 disclosed that before any bid can be successful, it must be equal or be above the reserve price, while each bidder was expected to enclose a bank draft for 10% of the bid amount. He said successful bidders have fifteen working days from the bid opening to make full payment. Otherwise, the second highest bidder would be offered the asset.
The assets are grouped into nine lots with today’s sale restricted to lots 1, 2 and 3. Sale of properties in the other lots will continue until the final lot is disposed on Friday, December 13, 2023.
Proceeds 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.
The Commission had on December 24, 2022 in paid advertorial published in five of the major newspapers in the country, announced the commencement of bids for over a hundred forfeited properties in cities across Nigeria. The bids were expected to close at 12pm on Monday, January 9, while the bid opening starts at 2pm same day at the National Open University, Jabi, Abuja.
Today, exercise was witnessed by among others, representatives of the Civil Society including the Rev David Ugolor, Executive Director. Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, who commended the EFCC for a transparent process but urged the Commission to ensure the guidelines are communicated to the public for the benefit of cynics who might be inclined to fault the process.