The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday rejected an offer of N13.1 billion from a bidder for a forfeited property in Lagos State.
The property comprising 24 units of luxury flats located in Banana Island, an affluent part of Lagos State, was put on sale as a single unit in an ongoing auctioning exercise the EFCC is conducting on forfeited assets across the country.
The original owners from whom the assets were recovered were not disclosed.
But the commission had earlier obtained a court order for the forfeiture of a posh skyscraper linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources in the same part of Lagos.
EFCC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, that there was no successful bid for the property in Lot 1 during the bidding exercise that took place in Abuja on Monday.
The statement said an unnamed bidder who turned in the highest bid of N13.1 billion for the property was disqualified for failure to include the stipulated 10 per cent of the bid amount.
“Other bidders did not make the reserve price,” the statement said.
As a result of the development, the secretary to the commission, George Ekpungu, announced that fresh bids would be opened for the property 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,” the statement added.
Also, there were no successful bids in Lots 2 and 3, according to the EFCC’s statement. “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, Mr Ekpungu explained that the commission adopted the format of competitive bidding to ensure accountability and that the government gets the right value for the assets.
He said occupants of the property for sale had the Right of First Refusal even as he vowed that the commission would ensure that former owners of the forfeited properties did 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 commended the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for taking the bull by the horn in ensuring that those who had stolen the wealth of the country were denied the proceeds of crime and the assets disposed of for the benefit of all Nigerians.
The Director Public Affairs of the commission, Osita Nwajah, read out the guidelines for the sale which among others, forbade members of staff of the commission and persons who had or are being prosecuted in respect of the assets from participating in the process.
Requirements for bidding
He said before any bid could be successful, it must be equal or be above the reserve price, while each bidder was expected to enclose a bank draft for 10 per cent of the bid amount.
He said successful bidders had 15 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 Monday’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, 13 December 2023.
Proceeds of bids
Proceeds from the sale of the assets, according to the EFCC, would 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 24 December 2022, in paid advertorial published in five of the major newspapers in the country, announced the commencement of bids for over 100 forfeited properties across Nigeria.
The bids were expected to close at 12 p.m. on Monday, 9 January, while the bid opening starts at 2 p.m. same day at the National Open University, Jabi, Abuja.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the EFCC started the auctioning with forfeited cars weeks ago.
In December, the commission auctioned over 400 cars in Lagos.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how one of the auctions was marred by poor organisation in Abuja.
Late December, the commission announced its plan to auction landed assets including 61 units of luxury apartments, and plots of land across the country.
The assets seized as proceeds of crime were said to have been permanently forfeited by court orders.
EFCC said Monday’s exercise was witnessed by among others, representatives of the Civil Society including David Ugolor, Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).
It said Mr Ugolor commended the EFCC for a transparent process but also urged the commission to ensure the guidelines were communicated to the public for the benefit of cynics who might be inclined to fault the process.
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