The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it has seized a multi-million naira property belonging to the Bauchi Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed.
It said the seizure was pursuant to its powers contained in Section 45 (4) (a-c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
But Mohammed cannot face trial yet because he enjoys immunity by virtue of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
The commission, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mrs. Rasheedat A, Okoduwa (mni) however said the governor will be prosecuted after his tenure.
The statement said: “The property which houses Zinaria International School is located at Plot 298 Wuye District, Cadastral Zone B3, FCT, Abuja.
“ICPC’s intelligence-led investigation revealed that Mohammed in his official capacity as the FCT Minister had allocated the said property to a school that had himself and family members as directors and shareholders, despite an existing right of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture over the land.
“To this end, the commission will issue notices of seizure and shall cause them to be served on the appropriate land registry, ministry and department where the property is situated as required by law.
“Mohammed had earlier been charged for using his office to confer corrupt advantage upon himself and relations under Section 19 of ICPC law but could not be arraigned before he was sworn in as Governor of Bauchi State.
“In view of the provisions of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the charge which was pending before Hon. Justice Danladi Senchi of FCT High Court 13, Jabi, was withdrawn by the Commission to forestall its being struck out by the court suo moto.
“Following the notice of seizure, the Commission will apply to the court for an order of forfeiture under Section 48 of the ICPC Act in line with the Federal Government Policy focusing on recovery of proceeds of crime, pending when the tenure of the governor expires.”
Section 45(4) (a-c) empowers ICPC to seize a property under investigation.
It reads: “The subject-matter of an offence under this Act or evidence of the commission of such offence shall be liable to seizure and the seizure shall be affected-
“(a) by the issuance of a notice of seizure signed by the chairman of the Commission or any other person authorized by him setting out there in the particulars of the immovable property which is to be seized in so far as such particulars are within his knowledge, and prohibiting all dealings in such immovable property; and
“(b) By publishing a copy of such notice in two newspapers circulating in Nigeria which shall be in the English Language; and
“(c) By serving a copy of such Notice on the officer of the Ministry of Lands of the Area in which the immovable property is situate.”