Recovered vehicles were auctioned to Presidential Villa and ministries – Ibrahim Magu says

Ibrahim Magu, the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told the presidential panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami to investigate his actions as chairman of the antigraft commission that some of the vehicles seized from looters were auctioned to the Presidential Villa, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

In a letter he sent to the panel titled, ‘Re: Alleged Case of Conspiracy, Enrichment, Abuse of Public Office and Other Infractions,’ Magu made this clear.

In response to an earlier report by the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovered Properties, Magu ‘s letter was accused of being unable to account for some of the vehicles and houses recovered, as well as interest on the N550 billion recovered funds.

Magu, in his letter of reply, said about 450 recovered vehicles are still to be sold.

His letter in part reads

“On allocation of vehicles to some government agencies through special auction with presidential approval. The beneficiary agencies are: the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of which the valued price is to be debited from their allocation; State House, National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons; Federal Inland Revenue Service and National Directorate of Employment.

The commission presently has presidential approval to dispose over 450 forfeited vehicles located in Lagos and Abuja. The vehicles have been valued by the National Automotive Council Valuers and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. But no sale/disposal has been conducted yet”

Responding to allegations that he has diverted some of the recovered houses from looters, Magu said the recovered houses have been handed over to some government agencies like the Voice of Nigeria, North -East Development Commission, and the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate. He added that some other properties, which had been forfeited pending the outcome of court cases, were being rented by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Army and other agencies of government.

The embattled EFCC boss also informed the panel via his letter that the commission also temporarily handed over a property recovered in Lagos to the Lagos State Government for use as isolation centres for COVID-19 patients.

“Real properties finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and allocated to some agencies for official use in line with the Presidential approval are: Voice of Nigeria, National Directorate of Employment, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, North East Development Commission and Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

“Properties under interim forfeiture order are rented by the following government agencies: Nigerian Army, Federal Ministry of Finance, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

“Other agencies of government that have approached the commission to rent properties under interim forfeiture order include: National Human Rights Commission and National Council for Arts and culture.” his letter read

However, the panel reportedly rejected the letter from Magu, which had been submitted by his lawyer, Wale Shittu, insisting that there was no justification for the letter and informing Shittu that Magu would be summoned if clarification was required.

On 6 July 2020, Magu was detained by police and placed before the tribunal led by Justice Ayo Salami sitting at the Presidential Villa. He has been accused by the Federation’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, of corruption and theft of recovered assets, insubordination and others.

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