Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

By Ismaila Chafe

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the transmission of a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill to the National Assembly to facilitate the establishment of an Agency for recovered assets.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 15th virtual meeting of the Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the bill when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.

“The Office of the Attorney General and the Federal of Ministry of Justice presented a Council memo today.

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“The Council memo is about a bill which will seek the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage

“It is a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill. It is in essence a bill that is targeted at 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.

“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 DSS, EFCC, ICPC.

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“So, with that kind of arrangements, which is adhoc, 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 are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.

“So it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.

“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.

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“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 an information.’’

Malami dismissed the suspicion that the proposed agency was informed by the fallout of the ongoing investigation of the activities of the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.