Bill seeking to create an additional agency that will checkmate and manage the proceeds of crimes in Nigeria has been approved by the Federal Executive Council.
The bill which is titled ‘Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill was approved on Wednesday.
Also, the Federal Executive Council has directed the Attorney – General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) to forward the bill to National Assembly for the purpose of passing it into law.
Malami who brief newsmen at the end of the weekly meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu.
Buhari who presided over the virtual meeting from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa , Abuja was with some ministers in attendance while others participated from their offices.
According to the minister of justice , the current situation in the country is that proceeds of crime are currently are with multiple government agencies.
He assured that when the bill is passed in to law and the agency is created, the agency would be solely responsible for managing the proceeds of crimes in Nigeria.
He said, “ The bill is targeted and intended to have in place legal and institutional framework . The legal componence of it is having a law while the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute proceeds of crime in Nigeria.
“ What happens before now is that 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 Services ) , the EFCC ( The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ) and the ICPC ( Independent Corrupt Practices 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 offhand the number of landed assets , immovable assets , the amount in cash that is recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture or final forfeiture . So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.
“ It is a next level of transparency and accountability that we will have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for proceeds of crime.
“ It will be a one- stop shop arrangement by which all the assets that are recovered arising from crime that are indeed vested in the Federal Government , you have a one- stop arrangement where you can have an information”.
He noted that there were failed attempts to present the bill to FEC in 2007 , 2011 and 2019 .
“ So, to now tie it to a particular institution or particular development of 2020 , I think is unfounded taking into consideration the historical antecedents relating to the bill , ” he said.