The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, hinted that international auctioneers are to sell the $40 million (about N14.4 billion) jewellery recovered from former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu, said auctioneers would also sell off the luxury houses recovered from the former minister and other fraud suspects.
He said that the presence of ‘internationally certified’ auctioneers would make the process transparent.
Magu spoke at the commission’s Lagos Office during an EFCC stakeholders’ conference on crusade against cybercrime fraudsters.
Apart from the jewellery and the luxury houses, Magu said that 242 trailers and tankers recovered from internet scammers will also be auctioned off. The vehicles are in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The acting chairman took reporters on a tour of the two EFCC facilities in Ikoyi where nearly 100 other vehicles recovered from scammers, including buses and luxury cars, lay idle.
Magu suggested that the current auctioning process often results in forfeited items being sold at ridiculously low prices.
He said this was unacceptable because many of the items were in good condition and were supposed to have fetched higher prices for victims of the scams.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had on September 10 permanently forfeited Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s jewellery to the Federal Government.
The jewellery, categorized into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches and 174 expensive necklaces and earrings.”
The rest are: 78 expensive bracelets, 77 expensive brooches and 74 expensive pendants.
The ex-minister, who is suspected of involvement in a $2.4 billion fraud, has also lost many luxury properties to the government via court judgments.
Magu said: “We want to make sure that there’s transparency in the process. Like what we’re doing now in Port Harcourt. There are about 242 trailers and tankers that we are about auctioning. In fact, in the next two weeks, we will auction them. We will advertise, you will see it very clearly.”
He said the vehicles had been valued by professionals and they had set reasonable prices.
He added: “We have so many vehicles that have been finally forfeited to the government and we have received the nod to go and sell them.
“I want us to involve everybody…we have to involve the courts, the Federal Ministry of Justice, Department of Petroleum Resources and maybe the army, in whose premises these things are kept. We have to be very transparent…
“Even the houses, there are auctioneers coming from outside the country who are internationally acclaimed and accredited auctioneers. For instance, the jewellery we recovered from Diezani, we need to bring in international auctioneers because these are things that are bought from abroad. We’ll get in touch with the manufacturers, with people who are in charge of these things.”
Magu expressed hope that the items, being second hand, would fetch at least 40 per cent of their cost value.