The chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye has said that the commission recovered over 200 properties corruptly acquired by some Nigerians.
Owasanoye who disclosed this yesterday at a meeting with the management of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) said the properties included plazas, bungalows and mansions.
He also said that the commission had penciled additional 100 illegally acquired houses to be seized before the end of the year.
Owasanoye said that the Commission was working with the federal ministry of works to map out the identified assets with a view to ascertaining their value and how best they could be put to use by the federal government upon final forfeiture.
“ICPC has recovered over 200 assets under my watch. We are working hard to get to 300 before the end of the year. Some of these properties are under interim forfeiture, while others are under final forfeiture.”
Earlier in his remarks, the director general of NIALS, Prof. Muhammed Ladan, had asked the commission to help the agency to secure temporary office accommodation for its staff.
He said the agency lacked office space for over 317 staff its staff adding that the institute had been squatting at the Supreme Court Complex in Abuja for over 20 years and at the University of Lagos for about 40 years.
He said 38 staff of NIALS occupy the basement of the Supreme Court and urged ICPC to procure one of the recovered properties as a temporary office for the institute.
Responding, Owasanoye assured that the Commission would work within the confines of the law to render any assistance to the institute in terms of temporary office accommodation.
Besides, he advised the institute to seek for ways to develop its permanent office.
FEC approves N3b oil and gas parks for Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa
The Federal Government has approved N3 billion for two oil and gas parks to be built in Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states.
The minister of state for petroleum resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, who disclosed this while briefing the media after the weekly federal executive council meeting held in Abuja yesterday said the parks are expected to create additional 1,000 jobs and improve security in the region.
“The ministry of petroleum resources presented two memos for the establishment of oil and gas parks. Two oil and gas parks were approved in council: one in Akwa Ibom and the other in Bayelsa State.
“These parks are to support the development and manufacturing of oil and gas tools. As some of you know, in some countries, the service sector of the Oil industry is sometimes even bigger than the oil industry itself.
“Unfortunately in Nigeria, that sector has not really grown so much. Now, this administration is really commitment to developing the service sector and that is why the oil and gas parks are being built. These parks will create a lot of jobs; we are looking at about 1,000 additional jobs. Of course, they will also improve the security of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
On the Deep Offshore Act, Sylva said: “Most of these laws are old and they need to be amended. The amendment of these laws really portends a lot for us. There are a lot of missed opportunities already.
“The previous law provided that when oil prices went beyond $20, we were supposed to negotiate and get some additional revenues. We didn’t take advantage of that. Of course, when we approached the oil companies, they said this was a lost opportunity; it’s not lost money because this money is not just there, it is not being kept in some cupboard.
“So, of course, it is a lost opportunity. We have to do something quickly to ensure that we don’t lose this opportunity in the future.
“That is why we have to ensure that this bill is passed. With this bill now, there will be some adjustments in the fiscal regime. We believe that the government will get a lot from the oil companies, especially their deep shore exploration activities.”
He added: “You know that the PSCs mean that they invest the money, they recover their cost before the government begins to get some revenues from it. Unfortunately, the recovery, each time they keep investing and they keep recovering. So, if you don’t take time, you never really get to the point where you benefit at all, because, the oil companies are perpetually recovering cost.
“So, with the Deep Offshore Act Amendment, all those things are taken care of.” he said
On the move to recover $62 billion from international companies, the minister said: “Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money, I mean, we can’t get $62billion.
“We can, maybe, get something from them, but not $62 billion. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them, but that is what is clear that it is a lost opportunity, really.
“The amendment of the bill cannot be retroactive. Laws cannot be retroactive, we have to look forward,” he said.