Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has stated that it is the position of the law that recovered assets should be returned to the victims it was looted from.
This statement is coming at a time when there has been a controversy on whether the state or federal government should be the recipient of repatriated £4.2 million loot recovered from James Ibori, former governor of Delta state.
Recall that Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, had stated that the recovered loot will be channelled into federal projects.
However, other stakeholders and political commentators in the country have opined that the loot should be returned to the Delta State Government.
However, Bawa stated that the law states that assets recovered from former governors should be returned to the affected states.
He made this comment while speaking on the issue of asset recovery when he featured on One-on-One, a programme on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Tuesday.
“When it comes to this issue of recovered assets, the provision of the law is very clear. There are victims of these crimes. Somebody has gotten somebody’s money fraudulently and assets are recovered from that individual. Of course, it will be returned to him (the victim),” Bawa was quoted as saying in EFCC ALERT.
“State government lost money through its former governor; assets are recovered from that former governor. Of course, it will be returned to the state. Other assets that are recovered for the federal government, it will be returned to the federal government.
“But there are stages. Issues of identification, tracing, and recovery of assets are there; all these are stages. Of course, before trial is concluded in court where matters are charged, those assets recovered through interim forfeiture are managed by us.
“And the EFCC has a full-fledged directorate of assets forfeiture and management that manages these assets. Normally, we engage estate managers to manage these assets, and proceeds from the rents are kept in an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“And then at the end of the trial, after the pronouncement of the court, whosoever is the victim, needs to be restituted. And if what the law says is that it should be sold, then after the sale of the assets, the proceeds, if it is for the federal government, will be put in the consolidated revenue fund.”