* As Commission Flags Off Vehicle Auction in Portharcourt

By Kenneth Okoro (Financial Crime Reporter)

The Secretary of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, has charged auctioneers handling the disposal of 244 vehicles forfeited to the Federal Government by illegal oil dealers, to be fair, open and accessible to every interested member of the public.

He gave the charge on Friday, December 20, 2019 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State while inspecting all the eleven( 11) bidding slots allocated to shortlisted auctioneers for the exercise. According to him, transparency and equal opportunity of bidding are the hallmarks of every auction and the licensed operators must abide by the rules. "Let everyone interested in any of the vehicles be given access to them.

The bidding must be open and free. There must be no hindrance of any kind", he said. Olukoyede later went round all the bidding boards placed strategically at the open ground of the Police Officers Wives Association, POWA, in the old Government Reservation Area, G.R.A, Port Harcourt where the bidding is holding and inspected vehicles displayed on each board. He cautioned auctioneers against hiding any of the vehicles allocated to them.

The auction exercise commenced Thursday December 19, 2019, in Port Harcourt, with the unveiling of the eleven shortlisted auctioneers by the EFCC. The vehicles being publicly auctioned were forfeited to the government through the ruling of a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The forfeiture order was granted by Justice I. M Sani on July 5, 2019. The auction of the vehicles is being conducted by the EFCC in conjunction with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court and the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Meanwhile, the EFCC, on Thursday, December 19, 2019 commenced processes involved in the auctioning of 244 vehicles forfeited to the Federal Government by illegal oil dealers. The exercise was flagged-off by the Commission Secretary, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, together with a team of senior officers of the EFCC. The initial auctioning processes took off at the premises of the Police Officers Wives Association, POWA's open ground in the old Government Reservation Area, G.R.A, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The processes involved allocation of bidding slots to registered auctioneers. Eleven( 11) registered auctioneers were shortlisted for the exercise and they include: Musa Kura & Co; FSS Nigeria Limited; Auspex Global Ssrvices; Jfdor International Limited; JN Enedo Nig. Ltd; Jagsul Nigeria Ltd; Soldap Integrated System; Fagobe Company Ltd; Amijapp Nigeria Ltd, Rihago Auctioning Ltd and Tojugnonyen Auctioneering Co. Ltd. Representatives of all the shortlisted auctioneers were present to pick slots from an open container publicly displayed at the POWA's open ground.

Commenting on the bidding slots, two of the shortlisted auctioneers that spoke for the rest, expressed satisfaction with the processes involved in picking the slots. Mr. Seye Morgan, Chief Auctioneer, Rihago Auction Limited, commended the EFCC for "running such transparent and credible bidding. We are really surprised at the level of openness and transparency demonstrated in picking slots", he said. Mrs Torisheju Ugbonyen, another auctioneer said that " the transparency of picking slots compensated for the period of waiting for the processes to commence.

EFCC has shown that it is indeed an anti-corruption agency". The next process involved in the auction of the vehicles is actual buying by interested members of the public. The auctioneers have already begun the process by displaying the vehicles on open boards. The vehicles being publicly auctioned were forfeited to the government through the ruling of a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The forfeiture order was granted by Justice I. M Sani on July 5, 2019. The auction of the vehicles is being conducted by the EFCC in conjunction with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court and the Department of Petroleum Resources.