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EFCC Searches Estate In Abuja, Lagos,Port Harcourt For Hidden Loot

Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, says the EFCC is pursuing real estate in Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt with vigour.

He named the real estate industry as a major conduit for money laundering during a press conference held by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Bawa, 90 to 100 percent of stolen public funds were used to buy houses and estates, or had loot hidden inside them.

According to him; “Estates are cropping up in Abuja left, right, centre every day with nobody living inside . There are estates in this country that are sold off-plan, sold and paid for. So, it’s a huge problem that we need to work with the media to unearth this issue. On our part, we’re vigorously going after that, after the real estates, particularly in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. That is an avenue that we’ve identified as an area where they’re hiding money.”

He said the commission would go after car, jewelry dealers and real estate developers who might be serving as conduits for money laundering.

Bawa said the commission was investigating the withdrawal of over N5bn from the treasury of one state in the country.

He said he was not referring to a serving minister in his recent narration of how a minister purchased a property through a bank chief.

In an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday which our correspondent monitored , he said the EFCC was looking into a female minister who acquired a $37.5 million property from a bank and deposited $20 million in cash.

When questioned why no ministers had resigned or a bank manager had been punished, Bawa claimed he was solely referring to the case of Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum, and that she will be tried “once she is in the country.”

On behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority, he said the EFCC had recovered $100 million from Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS).

“From the time I took over, we’ve recovered over N6billion, over $161 million, over £13,000, €1,730, 200 Canadian dollars, CFA 373,000, ¥8,430.

“We’ve recovered 30 real estates, one carpet, 13 electronics, one farm land, one factory, two motorcycles, one filling station and about 32 automobiles.”

Bawa said he had phoned the Inspector-General of Police on a death threat he received recently and would follow up with an official complaint at the Force headquarters for further action.

He also said the EFCC would again prosecute a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, after his recent release from the correctional centre.

Meanwhile, House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, yesterday asked the EFCC chairman to go public and expose the names of those threatening him as well as issues of corruption involving such individuals.

Elumelu, in a statement, also called on the federal government not to ignore the alleged death threats on Bawa.

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