Information filtering in revealed that some powerful forces in the Nigerian political and governmental circle are currently making frantic efforts to halt the creation of the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, a new agency proposed by the attorney-general of the Federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to manage recovered loot.
The moves, this newspaper learnt is allegedly led by the embattled suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
At its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council approved the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly.
AGF Malami said the bill when approved by NASS, would move the fight against corruption to the next level.
“The bill when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.
“What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS, EFCC, ICPC.
“So, with that kind of arrangements, 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 off-hand the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.
“So it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.
“So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.
“So, a one-stop shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government – you have a one-stop-shop arrangement where you can have an information,” Malami said.
However, this newspaper gathered from reliable sources that the development did not go down well with some powerful individuals in the country who feel that the formation of the new agency will (not allow them to manipulate the anti-corruption fight of President Muhammadu Buhari and divert same to their personal pockets).
According to the source: “Preliminary report by the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential probe panel investigating Magu has uncovered so many dirty deals by the ex-EFCC boss in collusion with some top powerful individuals in the country.
“It has been discovered that most of the proceeds of crime recovered by the EFCC under Magu have been diverted.
“The forces fighting against the creation of the new agency live large on these recovered proceeds which were supposed to have been declared to the government.”
The source further disclosed that part of the moves is to influence the leadership of the National Assembly to reject or frustrate the bill from being passed and to sponsor protest against it. Also, the forces are said to have contracted some individuals close to the Presidency to mount pressure on the president to drop the bill.
Magu was on July 6 arrested by a combined team of Department of State Services personnel and policemen and taken to the Presidential Villa in Abuja to answer questions from an investigative panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal. He was detained for several days before being released on bail.
Magu is facing grilling by the presidential panel over financial allegations and improprieties, including money laundering.
He is also accused of mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC.
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