…7.5 billion recovered so far-ICPC boss
By Gift Chapi Odekina
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission Ibrahim Bawa on Wednesday revealed that the much celebrated $43 million loot recovered from Ikoyi in 2017, had been forfeited to the Federal Government coffer.
He made the disclosure at the ongoing investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots.
Other also grilled at the hearing are the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC),Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund among others in Abuja.
Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman, EFCC while answering questions by members of the committee said that he was yet to refresh his memory regarding the total amount recovered by the agency.
He however added that the agency had the available record of the amount recovered and that only money forfeited and had gone to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) account could be utilised by the Federal Government.
Bawa said that the EFCC only relied on the annual budget for its operational cost, adding that the agency does not take money from recovered loot for operations.
The EFCC Chairman later pleaded that he should be excused by the committee to attend to a more pressing engagement, this however got the committee angry.
The Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, Rep Adejora Adeogun, told the EFCC chairman that he was undermining the power of the committee, but Bawa immediately pleaded for understanding.
The Adhoc Committee chairman said, “we will release you for the urgent meting but you must answer the questions.”
Adeogun however asked him to go for the meeting but must return at 3:00 p.m to answer questions.
Also speaking at the investigative hearing, Prof Bolaji Owasanloye, Chairman, ICPC, said that the commission had recovered N7.5 billion looted fund, but added that it currently had N2.1 billion left.
He said that the sum of N5.5 billion had gone to the Federal Government from the recovered loot,adding that it was disturbing that the system of assets recovery had not been efficient in term of record.
Owasanloye said that the ICPC had an assets recovery account where recovered loots were usually deposited, adding that the commission had no business with consolidate revenue fund.
The ICPC boss said that the account of the commission was opened and always accessible to the Federal Government and the Minister of Finance.
He stated 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.
Mr Uche Orji, the Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, said that no money recovered had been spent.
He added that 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 come back for further clarification for failing to provide some documents that could aid in the investigation.
The Commandant General of NSCDS, Mr Ahmed Audi said that the invitation letter to the corps for it to appear over recovery loo was not cleared, but had to seek interpretation from its legal department.
He asked for one month extension for the NSCDC to re appear before the committee but was given two weeks.