Chris Steven, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that the Proceed of Crime Act ,POCA bill pending at the National Assembly was responsible for the delay in the disbursement of recovered loots.
Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister explained in a release that the Minister gave the explanation when he appeared on the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA live discussion program, ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ in Abuja on Monday 3rd April, 2017.
Isah disclosed that the AGF in the with the topic ‘handling recovered loots’ emphasized that the Proceed of Crime Act bill among other things intends to establish an Agency that would manage the loots, recovered from unscrupulous individuals and companies.
He said, “If Proceed of Crimes Act had been promulgated, we would have had in place an Agency that would formulate policy on the management of recovered loots”.
According to him, that the Act which would mid-wife the recovered asset management Agency would constitute of a board headed by chairman with 20 years of cognate experience and representatives would be drawn from: the Nigeria Police (NPF), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDC, Federal Ministry of Finance, other relevant agencies and Civil society groups.
Malami further emphasized that the Agency has the capacity to generate income for government from local and international sources.
The AGF equally hinted that there is a robust collaboration between the States and Federal Government in the fight against corruption.
He explained that this disposition was consolidated by the fiat the Federal Government granted to States Attorney-Generals to prosecute federal offences with corruption connotations in the various states.
Also in his contribution, the Chief Whip, House of Representatives, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa who also featured in the program, said that the fight against corruption, which must be comprehensive, requires legal framework that would provide basic answers to key questions and define the way to go.
He was emphatic about who keeps what and where it is being kept, stressing that “loot kept in an unidentified custody is loot upon loot”.
The legislator noted that Proceed of Crime Act is being delayed because other similar bills sponsored by members and interest parties need to be sieved, compared and contrast with the executive bill so as to have enduring legislation on the matter.
One other discussant, Prof. Abdullahi Shehu from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) identified that one of the major principles of asset recovery was to take away negative role model out of the society, adding that lack of coordination in the system is making it difficult to have at a glance the amount so far recovered from looters.
The academician equally explained that for host countries to repatriate looted funds, necessary procedure must be followed which includes proper prosecutorial measures and clear cut punishment where necessary.
A renowned economist, Mr. Tope Fasua also participated in the program.