Senate Passes Proceeds of Crime Bill

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The Senate in session

Segun James

The Senate last Wednesday passed the Proceeds of Crime bill which will now pave way for the country to become full member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The bill is one of two bills which are key requirements for the membership of the global body where only South Africa represents the African Continent presently.

The new law as an executive bill also establishes the Assets Management Agency of Nigeria to manage and dispose all forfeited criminal assets in the country by law enforcement agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and the Nigeria Police.

The FATF is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1989 to develop policies to combat all predicate crimes through the prevention of laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The National Assembly had earlier passed the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill (MLA) and most importantly, a similar important bill granting autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit ,NFIU which has since been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 11, 2018.

The President also appointed the pioneer independent NFIU Director/CEO who was confirmed by the Senate to set up the new agency.

When contacted to comment on the two new laws, the chief media analyst of the NFIU, Mr. Ahmed Dikko said the two new laws would crown the assets tracing and recovery efforts of the Federal Government both within and outside Nigeria.

He emphasised that the agency would also keep clear and comprehensive records of all recovered public assets while managing them in a professional manner to avoid unwanted depreciation or lost of their real value.