By G9ija

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Bill to the House of Representatives for legislative work and passage into law.

The transmission was contained in a letter to the House which was read at the plenary on Wednessday by Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

Buhari in the letter said that the bill was presented to the Federal Executive Council in council memo EC (2020)159 on 16th September, 2020 and was subsequently approved tor transmission to the National Assembly.

He stated that the bill was passed by the National Assembly in 2019 but was not granted assent due to some issues that were identified during the review.

He explained 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.

He said the Bill will also 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.

The letter read in part, ”I am pleased to inform the Distinguished Senators that the above mention bill was presented to the Federal Executive Council, in council memo EC (2020)159 on 16th September 2020 and was subsequently approved for transmission to the National Assembly. 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 also 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.”

”This bill 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. 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. 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.”