YOU HAVE SEVEN DAYS TO REMOVE NOTICES PLACED ON ABIA STRUCTURES – GOVT WARNS EFCC
Abia State government will sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), if it fails to reverse the notices it placed on some of the state owned property.
The commission had last week embarked on a notice rampage where it marked a good number of edifices within the state capital, Umuahia as being under investigation.
Since then there had been speculations and reactions from citizens as well as supposed owners of some the property marked.
Some had also accused the commission of wrongfully linking their property to alleged investigation of some persons and demanded that their buildings be unmarked.
The latest reaction however is from the state government itself which has frowned at the development citing about six structures marked as duly owned by government or Co owned by private partners.
The attorney General of the state, Uche Ihediwa on Monday said the action taken by EFCC was damaging as it is capable of discouraging prospective investors.
He said the commission failed to ask questions first before embarking on such a an assignment.
Consequently the state government has given the commission seven days to remove the notices on the listed property which include :
1. The Abia Mall
2. The Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, Umuahia
3. The former Township main market at Ogwumabiri
4. The Millennium Luxury Apartments, Umuahia
5. Abia Hotels
6. Linto Estate, Old Timber Shed
He stated that “in 2016, the same Commission, EFCC, investigated the ownership of most of these properties wherein the Certificates of Occupancy and Public Private Partnership Agreements between the State Government and Investors in respect of the properties were duly submitted or tendered before the Commission at the time, which documents the Commission found satisfactory.”
” It is pertinent to note that the properties listed above belong to the Abia State Government and are not under investigation by the EFCC.
“Abia State Government duly entered into arrangements with credible investors for the development of these properties under Public Private Partnerships, which means that the reversionary interests in these properties still reside in the State Government.
Sections 28 and 29 (a) of the law establishing the Commission, ie, the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act, Cap E1, LFN 2004 makes it clear that the Commission can only attach or seal the properties of persons arrested for an offence under the Act. As noted earlier in this briefing, ownership of the propertied by the Abia State Government is not subject of any EFCC investigation” he added .
He further explained that the Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, the estate was initially to be developed by investors under Public Private Partnership arrangements but later terminated for non performance by the developers/investors, assign that the Adelabu estate under his watch as Commissioner for Housing was later built with direct labor by the Housing Ministry with the approval of the State Government. The houses in the estate, on completion were allocated to individuals who paid for the allocations and continue to pay ground rents to the State Government.
According to the AG “Also the Abia Mall is in receivership as a result of the failure of the investor to pay back bank facilities. Had the Commission done a due diligence check, it would have unearthed this fact without shooting itself on the foot.
The unwarranted and unlawful actions of the EFCC has fine incalculable harm to the economy of the State by scaring away high profile investors from the State. This also sends a negative signal to investors planning to invest in Nigeria.
In the light of the foregoing, the EFCC is hereby given Seven (7) days from today to remove the offensive and provocative notices placed on the above listed properties or estates. The EFCC must tender an apology to the Abia State Government within the same period.
Failure to comply with these demands will leave the State Government with no option but to seek appropriate redress in a court of law, ” he concluded.