Buhari seeks NASS approval for establishment of agency on recovery of stolen assets
President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the National Assembly approval for a bill, seeking the establishment of an agency on the recovery of stolen assets in the country.
If approved by the parliament, the bill will improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize, freeze, and confiscate assets stolen from Nigeria.
President Buhari had in a letter dated October 6 and read by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at Wednesday’s plenary, said the bill on the creation of a Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency was presented to the Federal Executive Council on September 16 and subsequently approved tor transmission to the National Assembly.
The letter read: “Please recall that this bill was passed by the National Assembly in 2019 but was not granted assent due to some issues that were identified during the review.
“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 improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize, freeze, and confiscate stolen assets in Nigeria while observing all related constitutional and human rights laws.
“It will also address the problem of lack of transparency, accountability, and lack of credible records associated with the current procedure in the management of recovered funds by anti-corruption agencies and other institutions in Nigeria.
“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.
“These funds will be used for development projects approved by the National Assembly under the annual Appropriation Act and also support the work of the law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies.
“It is my expectation that the House of Representatives will give the bill expedited hearing and passage into law given the importance of the bill in generating revenue tor the country.”