Abia State Government has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a seven-days ultimatum to remove what it described as “offensive and provocative notices” it placed on some of its property and estates.
In a statement on Monday, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Uche Ihediwa, also charged the EFCC to tender an unreserved apology for its action, which it said was embarrassing or be ready to face litigation if it failed to do so.
He said the assets the EFCC marked belonged to Abia State government, adding that the government duly entered into partnership with credible investors for the development of the property under a public private partnership (PPP) while the reversionary interest in the property would reside in the state government.
Ihediwa stressed that the law establishing the EFCC makes it clear that the commission can only seal off the property of persons under investigation, saying the ownership of the property in question was not under probe.
He recalled that in 2016, the EFCC investigated the ownership of most of property and the certificates of occupancy and the PPP arrangement between the state government and investors in various assets.
The commissioner described the action of the EFCC as unwarranted and unlawful, saying the agency did not ask the state government about the ownership of the property whose title documents are domiciled in the Ministry of Lands.
The sealed assets include the Abia Mall, the Adelabu Housing Estate, the former township main market at Ogwumabiri, the Millennium Luxury Apartment, Abia Hotels and Linto Estate, Old Timber Market, all in Umuahia.
KanyiDaily recalls that the EFCC had seized properties belonging to former Abia State Governor Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as directed by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.