There was no successful bid today as a N13.1 billion bid for 24 luxury apartment units on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, fell through during the opening of bids for confiscated properties by the Economic and Crime Crime Commission. Financial, on Monday, January 9, 2023, in Abuja.

In a statement obtained by our correspondent, the commission said it began the sale of forfeited real estate assets through sealed bids to the highest bidder on Monday.

It said: “In today’s session, there was no winning bid for the properties in Lot 1 comprising 24 luxury apartment units at Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, which were expected to be sold as a single unit.

“A bidder who submitted the highest bid of N13.1 billion was disqualified for not including the stipulated 10 per cent of the bid amount. Other bidders did not reach the reserve price. Consequently, the secretary of the commission, Dr. George Ekpungu, announced that the commission will open new bids for the properties in Lot 1. Bids will close at 12:00 pm on Friday, January 13, 2023, while the Offers will be opened on the same day.

“In addition, there were no successful bids on lots 2 and 3. New bids have been invited until Wednesday, January 11, 2023, and bids will open on Thursday, January 12, 2023.”

Speaking earlier in declaring the exercise open, Dr. Ekpungu had explained that the commission adopted the competitive bidding format to ensure accountability and that the government gets the right value for the assets. In addition, he revealed that the occupants of the properties for sale have the right of first refusal even as he promised that the Commission will ensure that the former owners of the seized properties do not try to buy back the assets by proxy. “If you have information about any offers from the asset owners, please let the Commission know and we will take appropriate action, including possible prosecution,” he said.

In addition, he praised EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa for taking the bull by the horns by ensuring that those who have stolen the country’s wealth are denied the proceeds of crime and alienated assets for the benefit of all Nigerians.

The EFCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Osita Nwajah, read the guidelines for the sale which, among other things, prohibit commission staff and persons who have been or are being prosecuted in respect of the assets participate in the process.

It also revealed that before any bid can be successful, it must be equal to or higher than the reserve price, while each bidder is expected to enclose a bank draft for 10% of the bid amount. He said that the winners have fifteen business days from the opening of offers to make full payment. Otherwise, the asset would be offered to the second highest bidder.

The assets are grouped into nine lots with today’s sale restricted to lots 1, 2 and 3. The sale of properties in the other lots will continue until the last lot is sold on Friday, December 13, 2023.

Proceeds from the sale of the assets will be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Property account with the Central Bank of Nigeria pursuant to Section 69(a) of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2023.

On December 24, 2022, the Commission had announced in a paid advertorial in five of the country’s leading newspapers the start of bidding for more than 100 seized properties in Nigerian cities. Bids are expected to close at 12:00 pm on Monday 9th January, while the opening of bids starts at 2:00 pm on the same day at the National Open University, Jabi, Abuja.

Today’s exercise was witnessed by representatives of civil society, including the Rev. David Ugolor, executive director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, who praised the EFCC for a transparent process, but urged the commission to ensure that the guidelines communicated to the public for the benefit of cynics who might be inclined to criticize the process.