- President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be concerned over a bill that seeks to prevent the EFCC and six other agencies from seizing assets
- The bill is also seeking to establish the Proceeds of Crimes Recovery and Management Agency
- The bill has been sent to Buhari, but the president has not assented to it
A bill that seeks to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from seizing assets and which would also see to the establishment of a new agency, is said to be a source of worry for President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to The Nation, the bill, which has been sent to the president, is seeking to establish the Proceeds of Crimes Recovery and Management Agency (POCA).
Legit.ng gathers that POCA would make it impossible for EFCC and six other agencies to seize assets or invoke the forfeiture clause.
If signed into law, the bill will empower a court to give an order to allow a suspect to be paid “reasonable” living expenses from his or her restrained property.
According to the new bill, POCA’s powers supersedes those of the EFCC and the six other agencies.
The other agencies affected by the Proceeds of Crimes Bill are the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU); and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the police.
A source said: “We are disturbed that the new bill seeks to oust the powers of EFCC and six other agencies. It negates the anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
”The provisions of the bill appear to be part of a systematic and organised scheme to frustrate the operations of the EFCC and six other agencies and, thereby, derail the anti-corruption fight of this Administration.”
Another source said: "The bill also makes it more cumbersome and financially burdensome on anti-corruption agencies to initiate and execute the processes leading to assets recovery.
”The bill seeks to remove the investigative powers of the anti-corruption agencies having primary responsibilities of investigation and recovery of the proceeds of crime, contrary to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines.
According to a presidency source, agencies affected by the provisions in the bill have been asked by President Buhari to submit brief on their observation.
The source said: “The President has stayed action in assenting to the bill. Instead, he has asked all the agencies affected by the provisions in the bill to submit brief on their observations."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that authorities at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said they were not aware of the alleged seal-off of houses believed to belong to the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
The acting head of media and publicity of the commission, Tony Orilade, said this in Abuja on Monday, May 13.
Orilade, who said that his office was unaware of the issue, added: “I have not been briefed; so, I don’t have any information on it.”
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