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ICPC seizes 94 houses from top civil servants

By The Citizen
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There are strong indications that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has launched a manhunt for corrupt senior civil servants who defraud the country.

Already, the commission has seized over 94 houses and choice property including assorted state-of-the-art vehicles concealed in different states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Out of this figure, one person alone has 62 houses.

Sources in ICPC informedĀ  that the seizures were pursuant to Section 45(4) (a)-(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Act 2000.

A memo endorsed by the ICPC chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, and obtained by our correspondent showed that some of the owners of these choice properties are senior civil servants at the levels of deputy directors, directors and permanent secretaries.

For instance, the commission said it seized 15 properties belonging to a senior employee of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Abuja.

Also, all the 15 houses are located in an Estate occupied by staff of NSCDC in Abuja and Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

Eight choice properties within Abuja and Nasarawa state belonging to another employee of NSCDC were confiscated in similar circumstances.

While most of the houses were seized from the staff of NSCDC, other choice houses were confiscated from a former employee of Skye Bank Plc in Wuse, Abuja.

The properties seized from the ex-banker are located in several places in Gwagwalada area of Abuja, Osun and Niger states.

Another two choice houses in Sun City Estate, Abuja, one Toyota Camry Car, one Toyota Sienna Car, one Toyota Car and a Hyundai Tuscan Jeep were seized from a deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abuja.

The ICPC chairman put the total value of the seized assets including buildings and vehicles at N806.3m, while cash recovered and remitted stands at N469.3m.

Others are beneficiaries (N47.4m) and cash in ICPC Recovery Account (N503.3m).

When contacted on whether further seizures would be made, the Resident Consultant of ICPC (Media and Events), Mr. Folu Olamiti, toldĀ  that investigations were carried out before the properties were confiscated.

He said, 'All the seizures we have made were sequel to petitions written to us and the result of investigations that we carried out. As soon as we receive petitions about people living beyond their means, the ICPC will follow up immediately. It is stems from the petitions received and investigations that were conducted to ascertain the truth.

'We look at their income and if it is not commensurate with what they have, definitely, we will act according to law and seize such properties.'

The ICPC spokesperson also said the commission would sell all the properties after some years, adding that the seizures were premised on the need to make people see public office as a trust.

He said, 'It is part of our preventive mechanism against corruption. We want to prevent people from stealing and let them know that public office is a trust which should not be abused. The ICPC wants to teach people to live within their means and avoid being greedy.

'We want to change the attitude of people towards public funds. Our preventive mechanism is working in Nigeria and that is why people are scared of desperation to own houses using public funds. The systems review into the parastatals and Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government is to ensure that the processes are well laid out and that there is no short-cut to doing things.

'One person alone has 62 houses; we have advertised the houses that have been confiscated. Let them come and give us reason for having those houses. How can a single person own about 62 houses in Abuja? Their prosecution would be determined by our chairman.'