The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced 29 choice property in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) to a former governor, New Telegraph has gathered.
Highly placed sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said each of the assets located in highbrow areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, cost about $2 million.
It was further learnt that in order to shroud the ownership of the acquisitions in secrecy, the ex-governor used some offshore companies as fronts, to ward off suspicion. Consequently, the Nigerian government has written the UAE, seeking cooperation, to attach and freeze the houses, which it believes, were bought from proceeds of crime.
New Telegraph’s investigation also revealed that the mind-boggling discovery was made by the Foreign Desk of the Commission, which is said to comprise internal operatives, personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), International Police Organisation (INTERPOL), as well as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The existing treaty between Nigeria and UAE, which was recently signed between the heads of both countries, will facilitate the seizure process. Already, the UAE government is said to have written to the offshore companies to disclose the identity and true owner of the affected luxury apartments.
It was, however, learnt that the offshore companies were yet to respond to the request made by the UAE government. The affected former state chief executive is said to be in the know of the ongoing investigation by the anti-graft agency, which has renewed its commitment to the fight against corruption in the system. “I can confirm to you that 29 luxury properties have been traced to one of the former governors in the country.
“As I speak to you now, efforts are on by the Federal Government of Nigeria to seek the cooperation of the UAE government to seize the assets upon authentication of ownership. “From what I heard, each of the luxury villas costs between $1 million and $2 million and you know how much 29 of them will translate to,” he said. According to the source, “the Foreign Desk, which has operatives and personnel from the EFCC, DSS, INTERPOL and NIA, made the discovery, which is very laudable.
“Both the UAE government and EFCC are in custody of bank details where occupants of the luxury apartments pay their rents and the person that operate the account. “Letters have been sent to the offshore companies to come forward and defend the ownership of the assets. We already know the man behind the assets.” The source confirmed that there are other properties that have been traced to some serving and former public office holders in Nigeria.