The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has returned 48 houses to Timipre Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa state.
The houses were seized during the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 although Sylva who succeeded Jonathan as governor described it as a witch-hunt.
Most of the properties which are located mostly in highbrow areas of Abuja such as Wuse II and Maitama are now available for rent, as it was also observed that, the“EFCC, KEEP OFF inscriptions had been taken down.
It was reported that the rent of the properties ranged between N2.5m and N6m per annum and that the 16 units of service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, off IBB Way in the Wuse II area of the Federal Capital Territory, cost N6m per annum including a N1.5m service charge.
A guard at the property said: “When the EFCC sealed off this property, it was rotting away. However, it was re-opened a few months ago so we started to refurbish the property. We have repainted the property and we have started renting the apartments out.”
"Immediately the EFCC inscriptions were erased, all the flats were taken. There is no vacant apartment now.”
The EFCC which charged Sylvia with N19.2 billion fraud in 2013 had in a statement through its spokesperson; Mr. Wilson Uwujaren claimed the former governor stole funds from the state between 2007 and 2011.
“The EFCC on Thursday, January 3, 2013, took possession of 48 properties of the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timpre Sylva, who is being prosecuted at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The interim forfeiture order to attach Sylva’s property was granted by Justice A. R. Mohammed on December 21, 2012.
“Assets belonging to the former governor, against which a forfeiture order was obtained by the EFCC, include a mansion at 3 River Niger Street, Plot 3192 Cadastral Zone AO, Maitama District, Abuja; nine units (comprising six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments) at 8, Sefadu Street, Wuse, Zone 2, Plot 262 Cadastral Zone AO2, Wuse, Abuja, and two duplexes at 5, Oguta Street, Plot 906 Cadastral Zone, Wuse II, Abuja.
“Others are a duplex on Plot 1271 Nike Street, Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama District, Abuja; a duplex at Phase 1 Unit No. 1 (Villa 1) Palm Springs Gold Estate, Cachez Turkey Projects Limited, Mpape, Abuja; 10 units of one-room apartments at 8 Mistrata Street, Plot 232 Cadastral Zone, Wuse II, Abuja; five units duplexes on Plot No 1070 Dakibiyu District, Cadastral Zone B10, Abuja; 16 units service apartments at Plot 1181 Thaba Tseka Crescent, off IBB Way, Wuse II, Abuja, and 3 units of three-bedroom flats at No. 1 Mubi Close, Plot 766 Cadastral Zone A01, Garki, Abuja.”
Sylvia was arraigned before three Federal High Courts in Abuja but the former governor was acquitted of all the charges.
Sylva who later defected to the All Progressives Congress was acquitted at the last ruling by Justice Adeniyi Ademola in Abuja who accused the EFCC of abuse of power.
He said the agency was being used by some people to get at the former governor and dismissed the case