The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the transmission of a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill to the National Assembly for approval.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the 15th virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the bill, when approved by the National Assembly, would facilitate the establishment of an agency saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.
“The Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Ministry of Justice presented a Council memo today. The Council memo is about a bill which sought the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage a bill on the management of recovered assets.
“It is a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill. It is in essence, a bill that is targeted and intended to have in place, a legal and institutional framework.
“The legal component of it is having a law and the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria,” he said.
The minister said when established, the agency would help coordinate the management of recovered assets, unlike the current situation, where such assets are managed by multiple agencies.
“What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the Police, the Directorate of State Services (DSS,) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC,) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC,) including the Ministry of Justice.
“So, with that kind of arrangement, which is ad-hoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off head the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that is recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weight of a final forfeiture. So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent,” he said.
He said the new agency would enhance the government’s fight against corruption.“So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.
“So, a one-stop-shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government – you have a one-stop-shop arrangement where you can have information,’’ he said.