President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to ask the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to coordinate the sale of assets forfeited to the Federal Government is to ensure uniformity and transparency, Dayo Apata (SAN) has said.
Apata, who is the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, said such responsibilities were also part of the duties of the AGF, being the nation’s chief law officer.
He spoke in Abuja on Tuesday shortly before members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the Federal Government, went around Abuja to verify some of the forfeited property located in the city.
Members of the committee, headed by Apata, visited five locations where they identified property to include house No: 6 Ethiope Close, Maitama; 19 Kumasi Crescent, Wuse 2; 14 Adzope Crescent Wuse 2, and a 35-room hotel located at No: 001 Owu Falls Close, Amsco Platinum City, Abuja, Galadimawa, called “The Platinum Residence Exquisite Luxury Accommodation.”
The committee also visited a facility behind the National Mosque, Abuja housing hundreds of vehicles of different modes are kept.
Apata noted that the presidential directive for the constitution of his committee was given by the President “in recognition of the pressing need for the Office of the AGF to coordinate and oversee a uniform process or common platform for the recovery, management and sale of all assets forfeited to the Federal Government rather than each agency working in silos without proper supervision thereby leading to the loss or wastage of the assets.
“It needs to be emphasized that asset recovery and disposal constitutes an integral part of the administration of criminal justice which are all within the purview of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation.”
Apata, who said his committee has, since inauguration on November 9, 2020, continued to work on ways to ensure it meet the six months allocated to it, noted that committee has ascertained that the forfeited assets are in 25 locations nationwide.
He added that the committee is collating and updating the list of assets that have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government, and also engaging in on-site visitation/auditing of the forfeited assets to confirm their existence and current state.
Apata gave a picture of items his committee has identified for disposal to include houses, water vessels (ship, boat, canoes), motor vehicles, plants, machinery, electronics, furniture, equipment, jewellery, ornaments and clothing materials.
“The committee remains highly committed to ensure a radical departure from the past by ensuring that government receives adequate value for forfeited assets and also to ensure that the assets are neither misappropriated nor mismanaged but are dealt with for public good.
“Let me assure Nigerians, on behalf of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation, that the composition of the committee is broad based and represents all relevant stakeholder interest that will guarantee efficiency and adherence to due process,” Apata said.