Abia govt gives EFCC 7-day ultimatum over sealed properties
By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
Abia State Government has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seven days ultimatum to remove all the offensive notices placed on some assets and estates of Abia State Government.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Abia State, Uche Ihediwa gave the ultimatum while briefing newsmen on the recent development in the state where the EFCC sealed off some property erroneously assumed to belong to a highly placed politician in the state.
Ihediwa demanded that the EFCC tender an unreserved apology to the state within seven days in view of the inconvenience its action had caused the state, or face court action.
He explained that those assets marked by the EFCC belong to the state government, and that Abia Government duly entered into partnership arrangements with credible investors for the development of those property under public-private-partnerships while the reversionary interest in the properties still resides in the state government.
Ihediwa informed that the law establishing the EFCC makes it clear that the commission can only seal property of persons under investigation, noting that ownership of the property in question is not under investigation.
He recalled that in 2016, the same EFCC investigated the ownership of most of those property and the certificates of occupancy and public private partnership agreements between the state government and investors in the various assets.
The commissioner described the action of the EFCC as unwarranted and unlawful, regretting why the agency did not write the state government to find out the ownership of the said property whose title documents are domiciled in the State Ministry of Lands. He stated that the action of the EFCC has caused harm to the state economy by scaring investors from the state.
The assets sealed by the EFCC include The Abia Mall, the Adelabu Housing Estate, the former township main market at Ogwumabiri, the Millenium Luxury Apartment, Abia Hotels and Linto Estate, Old Timber Market, all in Umuahia.