On the list are assets suspected to have been acquired with looted funds by some former governors, ex- ministers, bankers, oil chiefs, government functionaries and other Politically Exposed Persons(PEPs).
The EFCC is analysing the database in line with its list of PEPs who are being investigated.
The anti-graft agency has placed over 22 politically exposed persons and businessmen in Dubai under surveillance.
Funds linked with some of those under probe may be seized.
A source in the commission, who spoke in confidence, said: “In line with its Beneficial Ownership laws, we have already a database of Nigerians with assets in the United Arab Emirates, including properties of some high-profile Nigerians under investigation.
“We are already studying the database in line with our ongoing investigation and profiling. We have a long list of some politically exposed persons and businessmen under probe.
“The signing of the agreements between Nigeria and the UAE by President Muhammadu Buhari last week has opened a robust vista which will hasten our identification and attachment of the suspicious assets.
“It is time to set out for work. You will recall that over N1.34 trillion was stolen by public officers in seven years. We will trace some of these funds and the assets acquired with them in UAE.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “We will not release the list now but already we have initiated action on some suspects.
“Actually, there is no hiding place for any looter from Nigeria in UAE again. In May 2016 at the Anti-corruption Summit in London, the UAE joined the league of 29 nations which will share where lists of beneficial owners.
“The UAE has also strengthened its anti-money laundering (‘AML’) regulations. Therefore, the environment is conducive now to track the suspects on our radar.
“The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) also operates a commercial register where you can easily identify companies and investors in UAE.”
Following a state visit to the UAE by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 19, last year, the Federal Government entered into six agreements with the Emirates.
The agreements, which were signed by Buhari last week, are:
- Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement.
- Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection
- Judicial Agreements on Extradition
- Transfer of Sentenced Persons
- Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters
- Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters(recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth)
Sections 7 of 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 mandate the agency to seize suspicious assets.
Section 7 says: “The commission has power to (a) cause any investigations to be conducted as to whether any person, corporate body or organization has committed any offence under this Act or other law relating to economic and financial crimes.
“(b) Cause investigations to be conducted into the properties of any person if it appears to the commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by his source of income.”
Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.
“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’
Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.
(2) Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, Senator Shehu Sani said over $200 billion had been hidden in the UAE.
He said: “Over $200 billion is stashed away from Nigeria to Dubai alone. This may be the monies stolen since in the past 20 years. I am not talking about estates and bonds and other securities bought with Nigeria stolen money.”
The anti-money laundering policy of UAE Central Bank reads in part: “Any person who commits, or attempts to commit, a Money Laundering offence shall be punished by imprisonment of up to 10 years and or a fine of between AED 100,000 and AED 500,000.
”In cases of multiple perpetrators, the Court subject to its discretion, may exempt a perpetrator from the imprisonment penalty if he takes the initiative and reports the crime to the competent authorities prior to the knowledge of such authorities and if his actions lead to the arrest of the other perpetrators or seizure of the laundered money.
”Any establishment that commits an offence of money laundering, financing of terrorism or financing of any unlawful organizations, shall be punished by a fine of AED 300,000 and AED 1,000,000.
”Failure to report a suspicious transaction shall be punishable by imprisonment and /or a fine of between AED 50,000 and AED 300,000.
”Tipping off a person being investigated regarding a suspicious transaction shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and/ or a fine of between AED10,000 and AED 100,000.
”Violation of the requirements of Airport Declarations shall be punishable by imprisonment and or a fine.”