By Ajibola Abayomi.
December 11, 2017
Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has confirmed that over N2.8b was recovered from suspected pension thieves in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and Police Pension Office.
Magu made the revelation in a bare it all fact-sheet he made available to the National Assembly to clear the air on the controversy on the assets seized from pension fraud suspects.
He insisted that none of the assets seized by the EFCC was re-looted by the operatives of the commission under any guise and challenged the brains behind the rumour of re-looting to go “the whole hog to name the ‘ghost’ officials that engaged in this ‘sharing’ and the place and time the ‘sharing’ took place.”
He insisted that former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina remains wanted by the anti-graft agency adding that Maina’s $2million Abuja mansion and six others have been placed under interim forfeiture.
Magu said there was no cause for alarm because all seized assets were well-documented insisting that what was playing out is a “diversionary gambit intended to befuddle ongoing inquiry over the Maina reinstatement saga by smearing anyone or agency that is capable of unmasking the real pension thieves.”
“The suspects investigated in the Police Pension fraud from whom assets were seized, include: Atiku Kigo, Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Veronica Oyegbula, Uzuoma Cyril Attang, Sani Habila Zira, John Yusuf and their associated companies and persons,” he revealed.
“In the pension office of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, those from whom properties were recovered are Shaibu Teidi, Phina Chidi, Abdul Mohammed, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Aliyu Bello and their associated companies and persons.
“The assets seized from these suspects are in two categories. There are assets that are under interim forfeiture which means that they are temporally seized pending the determination of the substantive cases in court.
“Such assets cannot be dissipated because the cases are pending in court. The reality is, most of the assets recovered from pension fraud suspects belong in this category.
“The cash element of the recoveries is also carefully documented. The total funds recovered stand at N2, 886,743,016.71; $3,017,556.73; and €3,385.40. The sum of N16, 185,131,847.09 which was recovered from an illegal account in an old generation bank has since been remitted to the office of the Head of Service, while N369, 558,640.99 represents the cash component of John Yusuf’s final forfeiture.
“There is no opacity regarding the Commission’s handling of the assets recovered from suspects of pension fraud. The fact speaks for itself.”
Magu revealed that the properties confiscated from suspected pension thieves are being managed in a transparent arrangement put in place by the Assets Forfeiture Department of the Commission which has engaged Etudo & Co. Estate Surveyors & Valuers, a reputable estate management firm, to manage the assets, with the exception of assets recovered from Essai Dangabar, which are being managed by Court Registrar based on Court Order.
“All but one of the assets recovered from suspects in the pension office of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is under interim forfeiture,” he continued.
“The exception is Brifina Hotel, which was recovered from Shaibu Teidi. He denied ownership of the property and the court ordered its final forfeiture to the Federal Government. The property has since been handed over to government and is now being used as office by some agencies of government including the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
“It is only assets recovered from John Yusuf, who was convicted under a plea bargain arrangement for fraud in the Police Pension office that have been permanently forfeited to the Federal Government. These assets are 32 units in number.
“The assets, both those under interim forfeiture and the few under final forfeiture, are being managed in a transparent arrangement put in place by the Assets Forfeiture Department of the Commission. Etudo & Co. Estate Surveyors & Valuers, a reputable estate management firm, was engaged to manage the assets, with the exception of assets recovered from Essai Dangabar, which are being managed by Court Registrar based on Court Order.
“The proceeds of rent on the properties that had successfully been let out by the firm are fully documented and available in the recovery account of the Commission.”