The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday, September 16 2020, during it’s meeting approved the establishment of a new anti-corruption agency with the name, ‘Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency’.
While briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC virtual meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Malami said the council approved the transmission of a bill, titled, ‘Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill’ to the National Assembly.
The bill intends to have in place a legal and institutional framework of having a law and an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.
Malami explained that once the bill becomes law and the agency is established, it would see to proper documentation and management of such recovered assets and thereby guarantee transparency and accountability.
He further explained that the agency was necessary to manage assets that constitute the proceeds of crimes, stressing that previous proceeds of crime were scattered in different and multiple agencies.
His words, “What happens before now is the proceeds of crime are scattered all over, and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS (Department of State Service), EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission).
“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-hand 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 overweigh of a final forfeiture.
“So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.
“Next level of transparency, next level of accountability, in essence, will have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.
“A one-stop-shop arrangement by which all the assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government, you have a one-stop arrangement where you can have information.
“As it is for example the federal ministry of Justice is only in a position to account and giving a comprehensive account of what recoveries were made by the ministry.
“But any recovery made by the police, DSS, the ministry of justice is not in a position to know. So, for the purpose of decision making and policy, the FG is not in a position to have a holistic appreciation.
He reiterated that the new law seeks to move the fight against corruption to the next level.