The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has the power to dispose of the assets retrieved from Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff.
On July 18, the EFCC had handed over one of the properties seized from Badeh, who was killed last year, to the Voice of Nigeria (VON).
The property, located on plot 1386 Uda Crescent, off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, was one of the assets seized from the late defence chief, who was being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency for charges bordering on criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N3.9 billion.
In a statement on Friday, Tony Orilade, EFCC’s spokesman, said section 31 of the EFCC establishment act empowers the secretary of the commission to dispose of forfeited property by “sale or otherwise”.
He said the commission duly exercised the power by handing over the forfeited property to VON.
“Section 31 of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004 which deals with ‘Final Disposal of Forfeited Property,’ stipulates that ‘Upon receipt of a final order, pursuant to this section, the Secretary to the Commission shall take steps to dispose of the property concerned by sale or otherwise,” he said.
“We, therefore, wish to state with a high sense of responsibility that there is no ambiguity regarding who has the power to superintend the disposal of forfeited assets. It is within the power of the Secretary to the Commission, and he duly exercised the powers of his office by handing the property to VON.
“In Badeh’s case, the court’s verdict in the final forfeiture of the property was to the federal government and the judge understands that the Secretary to the Commission has the power to dispose of the asset by sale or otherwise.
“As a law enforcement agency, the Commission is guided by approved rules of engagement as it strives to deliver on its mandate.”
He explained that exceptions to the case were instances “where judicial pronouncements are made by trial judges on how proceeds of crime were to be disposed of”.