Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has reclaimed 48 of his properties seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), for alleged N19 billion fraud.
According to The Punch, a correspondent, who visited some of the properties, located mostly in highbrow areas of Abuja such as Wuse II and Maitama, observed that some of the inscription ‘EFCC, Keep Off’, on the gates or fences of the properties, had been wiped off the buildings while some of the buildings had been rented out.
The correspondent, who posed as a prospective tenant, was informed that the rent for the properties ranged between N2.5 million and N6 million per annum.
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 N6 million per annum including a N1.5 million service charge.
The building provides seven hours of power supply from a generator. One wing had been painted while the other was under reconstruction.
Following an interim forfeiture order by Justice A. R. Mohammed on December 21, 2012. to attach Timipre Sylva’s property, the EFCC in January 2013, took possession of 48 properties belonging to the former governor, who was then being prosecuted at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The assets which was seized by the anti-graft agency included a mansion at 3 River Niger Street, Plot 3192 Cadastral Zone AO, Maitama District, Abuja; nine units (comprising of six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments) at 8, Sefadu Street, Wuse, Zone 2, Plot 262 Cadastral Zone AO2, Wuse, Abuja, and two duplexes at 5, Oguta Street, Plot 906 Cadastral Zone, Wuse II, Abuja.
A duplex on Plot 1271 Nike Street, Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama District, Abuja; a duplex at Phase 1 Unit No. 1 (Villa 1) Palm Springs Gold Estate, Cachez Turkey Projects Limited, Mpape, Abuja; 10 units of one-room apartments at 8 Mistrata Street, Plot 232 Cadastral Zone, Wuse II, Abuja; five units duplexes on Plot No 1070 Dakibiyu District, Cadastral Zone B10, Abuja; 16 units service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, off IBB Way, Wuse II, Abuja, and 3 units of three-bedroom flats at No. 1 Mubi Close, Plot 766 Cadastral Zone A01, Garki, Abuja.
However, in November 2015, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja struck out the case against Timipre Sylva, accusing the EFCC of abuse of court processes.
The judge held that the charges had been dismissed by two federal high courts, and resuscitation was tantamount to an abuse of court process.
Ademola also held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the criminal charges against Timipre Sylva, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC.