- The federal government has reacted over alleged removal of asset recovery power from EFCC and ICPC
- The AGF Malami described the report as misleading and uncalled for
- Malami, however, said that the gazette quoted in the report was meant to address the absence of coordination and proper management of seized assets
Following the report that the federal government has stripped the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) of their power to trace and recover asset from corrupt suspects, the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, has reacted.
Legit.ng gathered that a report claimed that a government gazette indicated that the anti-graft agencies were stripped of their powers to seize assets of people being investigated.
The Nation reports that Malami, however, noted that the agencies still retain their powers to seize assets from corrupt suspects.
He made the clarifications in a statement by his special assistant on media and public relations, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, on Thursday, November 7.
The statement said: “The attorney general and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the issuance of the asset tracing, recovery and management regulations, 2019, was to address the absence of coordination and proper management of seized, forfeited or confiscated assets as well as to ensure transparency in the process of disposal of forfeited assets.
“Asset tracing, recovery and management regulations, 2019 as contained in the federal government gazette Vol. 106, No 163 was informed by the need to regulate the procedures for the tracing, recovery, management and disposal of illegally acquired assets as required under various extant legislation."
He said such extant legislation included the EFCC act 2004, the ICPC act 2000, the money laundering (prohibition) act 2011 as amended in 2012, the terrorism (prevention) act 2011 as amended in 2013.
“Section 4 of the Regulations retains all the powers of law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in their extant laws as it relates to asset recovery and therefore the issue of taking over the powers of these agencies does not arise," he said.
Malami also noted that the 2019 regulations provides for the oversight of the non-conviction based forfeiture by the attorney general as it requires the application of civil procedure in the recovery of specific assets.
He gave insights into what he termed the gains of the new regulations, adding that it is an important improvement from what has been the procedure where agencies maintained multiple accounts after disposing assets.
The attorney general asked Nigerians to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his foresight and continuing support to all the efforts of all the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies responsible for the recovery and repatriation of recovered assets.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the EFCC said that 890 convictions were secured by the commission within January and October 2019.
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