The Federal Government has approached the National Assembly for more powers to freeze and seize stolen public funds and assets.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter to the House of Representatives, which the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, read at the plenary on Wednesday, is seeking the creation of a Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency.
In the letter dated October 6, 2020, Buhari noted that the bill seeking to establish the agency was presented to the Federal Executive Council on September 16, 2020, and was subsequently approved for transmission to the National Assembly.
The letter partly 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.
According to the President, the objects of the proposed 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 collaboration with anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies.
He said, “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.