By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – At least 50 prominent Nigerians have been placed on a corruption watchlist and may have their assets confiscated if the government finds evidence they include proceeds of corruption, a presidential spokesman said on Saturday.
Garba Shehu, spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement that those on the list may also be barred from leaving the country while the probe is ongoing.
The action comes a day after an executive order recommending the seizure of properties and money suspected to be proceeds of fraud went into effect.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high-profile persons … on [the] watch-list and restricted them from leaving the country pending the determination of their cases,” said Shehu’s statement.
“Also, the financial transactions of these persons of interest are being monitored by the relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever corrupt the investigation and litigation processes.”
Shehu said the executive order was specifically directed to relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that assets within a minimum value of N50 million ($139,000) or equivalent, subject to investigation or litigation, are protected from dissipation by employing all available lawful means, pending the final determination of any corruption-related matter.
The statement did not give the names of those on the list but insider accounts say the list includes top parliamentarians and governors across party lines whose wealth has come under scrutiny.