The federal government has ordered buyers of two underpriced public properties in Lagos to pay the differentials of the real values of the properties as at 2001.
The minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the council arrived at the decision following a memorandum he presented to the Council, in which he revealed that the government was short-paid in the transaction on the properties seized by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He said the properties, a four-bedroom bungalow on Adeniyi Jones Lagos, and another five-bedroom duplex on Amadasun Street in GRA, Ikoyi, Lagos, sold for N2 million and N5 million respectively were seized by the NDLEA in the course of narcotic prosecution.
He said the government now wants the buyers to pay the sum of N18 million for the bungalow and N21 million for the five-bedroom duplex being the cost at which they were valued in 2001.
He said, “They were properties sold as a result of prosecution for narcotics by NDLEA. So, they were proceeds of drug crimes, but the valuation process followed the NDLEA Act instead of the Financial Regulations Act. So essentially, those policy proposals were approved by the government.
“The addresses of the properties, the first one is a four-bedroom bungalow with two room boys’ quarters at Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja Lagos, and the other one was a five-bedroom duplex with two room boys’ quarters at Amadasun Street, GRA Ikoyi, so they were sold for N5m and N2m respectively in 2001.
“At that time, the valuation we got was that if they were properly valued, they should have been sold for N18m and N20m respectively.”
He noted that the NDLEA Act of the time gave precedence to the directives from the Ministry of Justice and regulations were made according to powers under the Act.
“But they did not take cognizance of the procurement law and the financial regulations of the time.
“So, we are now saying, going forward, the financial regulations must take precedence. So, those are all proposals that will come as a new law when the Ministry of Finance finishes with them so that you cannot have different regulations for the disposal of assets that have been forfeited to the government. They must be subject to one superior procedure,” he added.
Fashola also disclosed that the government approved a policy recommendation to extend the usage life of government assets such as plants, equipment, land, property, and machinery.
He said the new recommendation will ensure proper disposal while saving government expenditure.
“The purpose of the policy memorandum was to seek better enforcement of the financial regulations of the government, especially the revised 2009 regulations with regards to valuation process for plants, equipment, land, property and machinery, and also how they are disposed of when they reach the end of life.
“This policy is premised on Executive Order 11 that enthrones maintenance as a conscious government policy. And we think that because of that, government assets should last longer than the life cycle usually prescribed in the existing financial regulations, such as four years and nine years for other classes of machinery.