A lot of questions have been asked by Nigerians in the past in respect of recovered loot by the Commission; these questions were given some prominence under the administration of a former chairman, through a certain George Uboh who has a dubious history of being a serial convict, first in the United States and recently in Nigeria for fraud. The Commission, however, uses the petition addressed by Uboh to the National Assembly to put the records straight on what EFCC did with the recovered loot. Find below, point-by-point response
ON TAFA BALOGUN FORFEITED ASSETS
A total of 15 Spring Bank accounts were forfeited by Mr. Tafa Balogun. Of this number, four (4) accounts had NIL (zero) balance. The total balance in the remaining 11 accounts as of January 2005 was N1, 226,518,163.09. In addition to this, seven (7) treasury bills/commercial papers in the same bank had a total balance of N1, 017, 178, 719.42. The two added together came up to N2, 243,696,882.51. With the addition of the accrued interest of N14, 403,634.36, the figure came to N2, 258,100,516.87.
This sum was what was paid to the Commission by Spring Bank and eventually remitted to the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, as against the N3, 037,255,521.60 claimed by the petitioner. It is pertinent to note that, of the four (4) accounts with Nil balance, account no. 01C11201191, erroneously appeared on the court order as a Dollar account. It was a Naira account with no balance. Similarly, on the court order, there was a duplication of the Treasury Bills account of Yeboa Investment Limited (Nos. 01X0520147400 and 01X520147500) These accounts which are Bankers Acceptance ought not to have been captured as current accounts. Both accounts were erroneously listed as having a balance of N254, 279,679.86.
The Commission wrote two letters to the Minister of Finance dated 22nd July 2009 and 29th November 2010, respectively, wherein it noted that funds remitted were part proceeds of Tafa Balogun recoveries. Mr. Uboh’s confirmation, that in March 2013, the Commission disclosed that it was in custody of some balance, shows that there was no secrecy about the balance. However, it is necessary to state that as at March 2011, there were legal issues on some of the properties recovered from Tafa Balogun. Other claimants emerged, with claims to the properties. The cases include the property at Plot 2220 Suez Crescent, Zone 4, Abuja, which the Commission eventually won in 2013, while the other involved a property at Plot 1488, Fugar Street, Asokoro which case the Commission lost in 2014. Apart from the Fugar Street Asokoro property that is now a subject of appeal by the EFCC; three (3) other properties forfeited by Tafa Balogun are yet to be disposed of. One of the properties is located at Plot 110, Tunis Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja. Meanwhile, the total sum of N46,358,393.15 generated from the management of the property by Diya Fatimilehin & Co since 2009 was remitted to the Commission at various times. The remitted sum is in the Commission’s recovery account.
The remaining two properties which appeared on the forfeiture order as Plot 75, Asokoro and Plot 2262B Maitama A6 District, Abuja, are also subject of legal disputes.
The placement of forfeited monies in interest yielding accounts is not an entirely new idea. The court in various rulings ordered some funds to be placed in interest yielding accounts. Rather than warehousing forfeited funds in current accounts for a long period, the Commission lodged such funds, including those of Tafa Balogun, in interest yielding accounts. The interest element is always in line with CBN Cash Reserve Ratio and not fixed. Not a single kobo is taken out by the Commission under this initiative.
It is interesting to note that under this initiative, as at March 2015, the sum of N696, 590,765.36 was generated as interest on recovered funds with Access Bank Plc. Another sum of N522,807,543.83 presently stands as interest generated from recovered funds with Ecobank Plc, while the subsidy recoveries with Enterprise Bank Plc has yielded the sum of N736,609,666.62. All these monies are intact and are held on behalf of the Federal Government until all encumbrances to their release are cleared.
For purposes of transparency and accountability, the Commission sought and obtained approval to operate a dedicated interest income account vide a letter from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation Ref. No AGF/TRY/RB/441/VOL.I/128 dated 3rd December, 2012.
The facts of the balance of Tafa Balogun’s recovered assets are not hidden, neither are issues of the interest which accrued thereof.