The Coalition of Integrity Political Parties (CIPP), has called for the merger of anti-graft agencies in the country and to be supervised by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as done in most developed countries for proper coordination.
The CIPP citing example of the United States of America, where the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overseen by the Justice Department, explained that bringing the various anti-corruption agencies under the AGF, was the only way of curtailing bottlenecks and cost of prosecuting corruption cases.
National Spokesman of the CIPP, Dr Yakubu Shendam, speaking to newsmen in Jos, Plateau state on the heels of media reports that the AGF has taken over the powers of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) insisted that anti corruption efforts will be more meaningful when coordinated by the definite body.
“Nigerians must make efforts to look at the positives of government policies rather than paying attention to individuals and groups that have made opposition of government a business. How coordination of Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 meant to address the absence of coordination and proper management of seized, forfeited or confiscated assets as well as to ensure transparency in the process of disposal of forfeited assets remains a wonder.
“It is obvious that when two or more organisations are playing similar roles, confusion will set in at some point hence, need for coordination, he said.
Shendam asked Nigerians to commend the President and the AGF for the foresight and continuing support to all the efforts of all the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies responsible for the recovery and repatriation of recovered assets.
It would be recalled that the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had explained that the EFCC and ICPC still retain their powers to seize assets from corrupt suspects.
According to the minister, “Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 as contained in the Federal Government Gazette Vol. 106, No 163 was informed by the need to regulate the procedures for the tracing, recovery, management and disposal of illegally acquired assets as required under various extant legislation.
“Such extant legislations included the EFCC Act, 2004, the ICPC Act, 2000, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012, the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency Act, 2018 as well as the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019.
“Section 4 of the Regulations retains all the powers of law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in their extant laws as it relates to asset recovery and therefore the issue of taking over the powers of these agencies does not arise.
“The Attorney-General noted that where more than one agency is involved in the tracing of the same proceeds of crime, the Attorney General shall coordinate and ensure that there is synergy and successful recovery.
“The 2019 Regulations provides for the oversight of the non-conviction based forfeiture by the Attorney General as it requires the application of civil procedure in the recovery of specific assets,” the Minister ended.