© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
ICPC press release is false and misleading ― Yar’adua foundation reacts to property seizure
THE Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation in reaction to its property seizure by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has decribed the commission’s press release as ‘false and misleading’.
In a statement issued by the Director-General of Shehu Yar’adua Foundation, Jacqueline Farris, the foundation is in full compliance with tax obligations.
The organisation is in full possession of its 2019 tax clearance certificate issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the statement reads.
According to the Foundation, the photograph in ICPC’s press release is a property of the foundation located at One Memorial Drive in Central Business Area, Abuja indicating that the foundation has been seized by the government.
The foundation said the photograph in ICPC’s press release is false and that the property seized is located at Plot 1313, Cadastral Zone B08, Jahi District.
Farris wrote that “the foundation was first made aware of the land allocation in 2018, and obtained the right of occupancy in September 2019, the foundation’s tax liabilities, therefore, accrue from October 2019″.
In contrast, ICPC said it had obtained an order of final forfeiture against the foundation’s properties for alleged failure to pay their taxes as at when due for which the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had to prepare a schedule of tax obligations against them.
A Federal Capital Territory High (FCT) Court (No.3) Maitama, presided over by Justice Baba H. Yusuf, ruled on an ex-parte application filed by ICPC granting it the final forfeiture order against the properties.
Yar’adua foundation and other companies were among 29 entities that had been earlier approached with a net N8.6 billion-tax liability, but they denied ownership of the properties, ICPC said.
For this reason, a complaint was submitted to the office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and was forwarded to the Commission for further action.
Consequently, ICPC said it filed an ex-parte application in the FCT High Court under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, seeking an Interim Forfeiture Order against the properties of the tax defaulters, which was granted.
In compliance with the order of the court, the Commission published notices in national newspapers calling for persons having interest in all or any of the forfeited properties to appear and “show cause” why the said properties should not be finally forfeited to the federal government.
That being so, three companies — Frankdiowo Nigeria Limited, Kati Nigeria Limited and R.Timmermann & Co Nigeria Limited – appeared in court to explain why their properties should not be finally forfeited by urging the court to discharge them.
Amongst them, only Frankdiowo Nigeria Limited showed “good cause” and was discharged, while the other two will return to court for the hearing of their affidavits.
Many of the forfeited properties are located in central highbrow areas of Abuja such as Wuye, Jahi, Utako, Wuse, Garki II, etc.