Cecelia Ibru’s Properties Not in Our Possession – EFCC
The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to media reports, alleging that the Commission failed to comply with an order by court to disclose the extent of assets recovered from Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Plc. Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos, had on February 22, 2013 given the Commission a 72-hour ultimatum to make the disclosure following an application
by President of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, on the strength of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
While the Commission has no problem with individuals and organisations seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act, it is necessary to state that the EFCC has already appealed against the said order.
The appeal was informed by the Commission’s belief that the order was unwarranted; just as the request which informed it was misdirected. By the judgement of Justice Dan Abutu delivered on October 8, 2010, the EFCC had ceased to be the custodian of the forfeited Ibru assets. Justice Abutu had, while sentencing the convict on October 8, 2010 made pronouncements regarding the fate of her forfeited assets. Indeed paragraph 3 of page 2 of the order of Justice Abutu
provides thus: “That in addition, all the assets set out in schedule VI of the Settlement Agreement are hereby forfeited to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).”
By this order, the EFCC ceases to have custody of the assets and so cannot be compelled to disclose what it does not control. This order is public knowledge which is why Justice Idris’ ultimatum came as a surprise. From the order of Justice Abutu, it is very clear where enquiries about the Ibru properties should be directed; certainly not the EFCC.
It became necessary to make this clarification to erase, finally, all ambiguities regarding sources for information and institutional responsibilities for the Ibru assets. The Commission completed its job on the Ibru case the day she was convicted.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
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