The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, ordered an audit of all assets seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, including those already forfeited to the Federal Government as proceeds of crime.
The House said such assets included cash, “moveable and immovable” items like cars and landed properties.
In a resolution in Abuja, it directed the Committee on Financial Crimes to conduct the audit within six weeks in a bid to ascertain the “legality of their current values and make appropriate recommendations to the House.”
The House passed the resolution following a motion moved by the lawmaker representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency of Lagos State, Mr. Babajimi Benson.
Benson had stated that most assets seized by the EFCC appeared to have been left to decay or there was lack of adequate information on the state of the assets.
Assets seized by the anti-graft agency are kept in its custody while investigations or prosecution of offenders are ongoing and become forfeited assets after the agency secures a favourable court judgment.
However, lawmakers observed that the absence of a reliable inventory on such assets left Nigerians wondering about what became of them.
For example, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, told the House that many Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government rarely kept a register of seized assets.
He argued that without an inventory, officials could easily pilfer the assets and falsify reports on their statuses.
Chinda, who is from Rivers State, added that agencies went as far as destroying seized assets just to cover up the theft of such properties.
He added, “Our MDAs don’t maintain asset registers.
“This issue is not about the EFCC alone. They can claim to have destroyed seized assets just to cover up other things; like the Nigeria Customs Service seizing bags of rice and destroying them.
“Why are they destroying the rice when we have internally displaced persons in camps all over the place?”