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ICPC to begin sale of seized assets

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ICPC

THE Independent Commission of Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes (ICPC) has begun the process of selling assets that have been permanently seized from the federal government.

  ICPC President BolajiOwasanoye said the process was being conducted in accordance with the provisions of the new Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), which was enacted by President Muhammadu Buhari in May this year. .

  He spoke in Abuja on Friday at the “opening of bids to select auctioneers” for the sale of the seized assets, according to a press release issued Monday by ICPC spokeswoman Azuka Ogugwa.

  The statement did not give details on the assets that will be put up for sale or the result of the opening of offers.

  However, Mr. Owasanoye, represented at the event by an ICPC board member, praised the impact of POCA in the war on corruption.

He described the new law as a tool “that brought clarity and purpose to the previously murky waters of asset recovery and management.”

  According to him, the new regime is a break from the era of the “unregulated structure surrounding forfeited assets,” which he said often led to huge revenue losses that ultimately defeated the purpose of recovery.

  He added that the Proceeds of Crime Law helped create a guiding direction, created a uniform system to manage and dispose of confiscated assets, and ensured that all processes were discussed and carried out by specialists in the   respective professions.

  This, he added, prioritizes the prevention of corruption and encourages transparency. 

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  He reiterated that each agency that recovers assets is responsible for disposing of the forfeited assets.

  He added that the process stipulated by the POCA is tamper-proof as the law mandates that all income be deposited in a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria which can only be accessed at the discretion of the National Assembly and the President.

  He said: “Whatever comes out at the end of this exercise, there is already a dedicated account under the watchful eye of the Central Bank of Nigeria. No one has the power to transfer or withdraw anything from that account except the National Assembly and the President.”

  One notable aspect of the POCA provisions, according to Mr. Owasanoye, is that it establishes a committee made up of board members, directors, labor representatives, civil society organizations, the media and the Office of Public Procurement to oversee the bidding process. in order to provide guidelines and ensure that all procedures were transparent.

  He expressed delight that the commission is one of the first to conduct an auction based on POCA, and suggested that the success of the process would ultimately encourage other agencies to follow suit.  “The bid opening process began with the opening and counting of bids submitted based on lots that had been publicly announced and were subject to strict terms and conditions.

  “There were two lots available with 58 and 54 offers, respectively. Each box was meticulously processed and records were taken of offers accepted, returned and withdrawn.”

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