EFCC seizes two shopping malls from INEC chief
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August 29, 2016 ( Post 1 )
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC have seized two choice shopping malls allegedly acquired by a serving Resident Electoral Commissioner, Gesil Khan, with her share of a bribe dished out by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of last year’s general elections.
According to The Nation, N49 million was also found in her bank account which has been frozen.
A total of N23.29b was disbursed under the poll bribery scam allegedly facilitated by ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, of which N185, 842,000 went to Khan.
The anti-graft agency applied to the Federal High Court, Yenagoa for Interim Forfeiture Order in line with sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act to take over the account and the buildings which are located in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State ccapital. A total of N503 million have been refunded by other INEC staff and some PDP chieftains who took from the election largesse. Out of the N503 million refunded, N200million came from a former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga ( rtd). A total of N450million was allegedly traced to him.
The EFCC is yet to conclude its investigation of the INEC staff and PDP stalwarts who were implicated in the poll bribery scandal. The INEC REC and other electoral officers are being investigated for allegedly collecting N681million altogether. The other INEC officers already grilled in connection with the matter are: Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State)-N112,480,000 ; Uluochi Obi Brown (INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State)-N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga-N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo-N214,127,000.
An EFCC official who spoke on condition of anonymity said “We have been able to trace two choice shopping malls in Yenagoa to the affected REC Khan. Following the development, we applied to a Federal High Court for Interim Forfeiture Order in line with sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act.
The court has granted our prayers to seize the two malls and appoint managers to take care of the properties in order to generate more revenue either for the government or the owner depending on how the trial ends. We do not want the assets to lie fallow hence we recruited managers to be in charge until investigation and trial are concluded.
During investigation, we discovered N49million in the account of REC Khan. Since she could not fully account for the sources of the money, we have frozen the account in line with our mandate. We are treating the money as likely proceeds of bribery or money laundering.
The account will remain frozen until a court of law decides otherwise based on facts we will present during her trial.” Sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act read in part: “Any property subject to forfeiture under this Act may be seized by the commission in the following circumstances- (a) the seizure is incidental to an arrest or search; or (b) in the case of property liable to forfeiture upon process issued by the Court following an application made by the Commission in accordance with the prescribed rules. Whenever property is seized under any of the provisions of this Act, the Commission may- (a) place the property under seal; or (b) remove the property to a place designated by the Commission. Properties taken or detained under this section shall be deemed to be in custody of the Commission, subject only to an order of a Court.” Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause. “Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall there aft.
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