Timipre Sylva, a former Governor of Bayelsa State, has retrieved 48 of his properties seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), during the investigation of an alleged N19.4 billion fraud case against him.
The Punch gathered that the anti graft agency’s seal ‘EFCC, Keep Off’, has been wiped off from the gates and fences of quite a number of the properties, which are located mostly in highbrow areas of Abuja such as Wuse II and Maitama.
This is even as some of the houses had been rented out; with the rent for the properties ranging between N2.5m and N6m per annum.
In 2013, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the EFCC had seized 48 properties from Sylva, an act which the ex-governor described as a witch-hunt and political persecution.
The commission, after accusing the ex-governor of N19.2bn fraud, then slammed 50 charges against him before three federal high courts in Abuja.
However, a correspondence of The Punch, who visited some of the houses, posing as a prospective tenant, observed that the inscription ‘EFCC, Keep Off’, on the gates or fences of the property, had been wiped off the buildings while some had been rented out.
Sixteen units of service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, off IBB Way in the Wuse II area of the federal capital territory (FCT), cost N6m per annum including a N1.5m service charge.
“When the EFCC sealed off this property, it was rotting away. However, it was re-opened a few months ago so we started to refurbish the property. We have repainted the property and we have started renting the apartments out,” a guard at the property was quoted to have said.
At a block of flats, which comprises nine units (six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom flats) located at 8, Sefadu Street, Wuse, Zone 2, it was gathered that the rent ranged from N1.5m to N3m.
“Immediately the EFCC inscriptions were erased, all the flats were taken. There is no vacant apartment now,” the security guard said.
At a property located at 8 Mistrata Street, Wuse II, Abuja, it was observed that the property was a hotel, which charged between N25,000 and N45,000 per room.