The Government of Abia State on Monday issued a seven day ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to remove what it described as ‘offensive’ notices placed on some of its property, with claims that they are assets of the state government.
Some of the properties sealed includes the Abia Mall, the Adelabu Housing Estate, the former township main market, Ogwumabiri, Millennium Luxury Apartment, Abia Hotels and Linto Estate, Old Timber Market, all in Umuahia.
Abia state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of state Chief Uche Ihediwa who made announcement of taking the EFCC to court while fielding questions from newsmen, said some of the assets sealed by the anti-graft ageny belong to the state government which entered into partnership arrangements with credible investors for the development of those properties under the public private partnership (PPP).
Ihediwa described the action of the EFCC as “unwarranted and unlawful” and further asked the agency to issue an unreserved apology to the state within seven days in view of the inconvenience its action caused.
The commissioner alleged that the EFCC who did not write the state government to “find out the ownership of the said properties whose title documents are domiciled in the State Ministry of Lands” before sealing them off, caused harm to the state economy by scaring investors.
Independent reported that Ihediwa maintained that the law establishing the EFCC makes it clear that the commission can only seal property of persons under investigation. He affirmed that the ownership of the property in question is not under investigation as he recalled how same anti-graft agency, investigated the ownership of most of those properties and the certificates of occupancy (CoO) and public private partnership agreement between the state government and investors of the various assets in 2006.