In creating a new body called Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, President Muhammadu Buhari has yesterday initiated moves to unbundle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to that effect.
According to Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President who read a letter from President Buhari on the proposed bill tagged: “Proceeds of Crime Bill”, he disclosed that the bill would address the problem of lack of transparency and accountability associated with the management of recovered funds by anti-corruption agencies in the country.
President Buhari clarified in the letter that the transmission of the piece of legislation to the National Assembly for consideration followed its approval by the Federal Executive Council.
The letter which was dated October 6 revealed that the agency would be critical in sustaining the fight against corruption, money laundering, and illicit movement of stolen funds through the banking system and across Nigerian borders.
Excerpts from the letter: “An important feature of the bill is the creation of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency. The objects of the agency include the enforcement and administration of the provisions of the bill and the coordination of the recovery and management of the proceeds and instrumentalities of unlawful activity in Nigeria in all collaboration with anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies.
“Most importantly, the agency will ensure that Nigerians can benefit from proceeds of crime by ensuring that once recovery is made, the properties and assets will be secured and that the final forfeitures granted through a court order can be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Account to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
The result of the bill when passed into law is, the dissolving of EFCC and the six other anti-corruption agencies from securing freezing orders on suspicious bank accounts under investigation.
The other agencies include Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the police.
President Buhari further stated that “The Proceeds of Crime Bill is essential and critical in building an enduring and sustainable foundation for the fight against corruption, money laundering and illicit movement of stolen funds through the banking system and across the Nigerian borders. The bill will also improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize, freeze, and confiscated stolen assets in Nigeria while observing all related constitutional and human rights laws,” the President said.
As at last year when the bill was passed by the Bukola Saraki-led Senate, the EFCC, headed by suspended acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, opposed it and urged President Buhari to reject it.