The Lagos State government may seize under-valued properties allegedly sold illegally and prosecute defaulters. The Nation learnt that the government is set to implement a far-reaching report on the sale of such assets. The report is said to contain a list of over 100 properties, the names of their buyers and the locations of the assets. Sources disclosed
that the report was arrived at after extensive lasting several months by a panel of inquiry set up in late 2016 by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to “investigate the sale of its assets in prime areas running into billions of Naira”.
The source, who does not want her identity revealed due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the government decided to investigate the sale of its assets because they were sold below market value. According to the source, the loss ran into billions of Naira.
She said: “The affected assets are located in high-profile areas, where decision-makers, captains of industries, top government functionaries and political actors among others often crave to build their homes and offices.” She identified the areas where the assets are to include Ikeja GRA, Magodo, Ikoyi, Lekki and other prime locations. She explained that the assets were disposed at abysmal (or give-away) prices and obviously against public interest, which in her words, stoked the interest of the present administration to investigate and review the process by which the assets were sold. She disclosed that what eventually culminated in the resolve of the State government to investigate the sale of its assets was overriding public interest, lamenting that some of these assets “were sold as low as N20 million.”
She added: “Generally, we have a situation where government properties in prime locations were sold at give-away prices. The assets were abysmally under-valued. Besides, the assets were sold below the actual market value” The Nation gathered that government took an exception to such transaction, stating that no serious government would allow such sales against public interest to stand.
It was further gathered the report had indeed been submitted and implementation had begun with review of sales of properties that were sold grossly under market value. In one of the test cases under review, it was discovered that two wings of a five bedroom semi detached house located around Ikeja GRA valued at hundreds of millions of Naira was in 2010 offered to Funmi Smith of Debam Mega Solutions Limited for a sum far less than half of the value, but seven years after the offer barely half of the offered sum has been paid to the State Government coffers by the Company.
It was reliably gathered that as part of the report’s recommendations, the State Government has been advised to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to unravel several other transactions that have been identified by the panel of inquiry.