The proposed agency to manage recovered loot may be dead on arrival, as the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption(PACAC) has stoutly opposed it,
The committee headed by constitutional lawyer Prof. Itse Sagay has urged Nigerians and the National Assembly to reject the bill as it seeks the amendment of the EFCC Act.
At its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council approved the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly.
It is called the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill and will facilitate the establishment of an Agency for recovered assets.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the bill when approved by NASS, will 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.’’
“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 arrangement, which is adhoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off head 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”, Malami said.
But PACAC read a sinister dimension to the bill.
In a statement, Professor Sagay argued that the proposed amendment of the Act was part of “an ongoing very sinister and dangerous attempt to demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria and return it to the situation it was in during the dark days before 2015.”
Sagay said the proposed amendment would effectively turn the EFCC into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“With all the above established facts, the gravity of the proposed change becomes overwhelming.
“When in addition to all this, we recall the well-known proclivity of the attorney-general for entering nolle prosequi in favour of major political and governmental figures, this move to effectively scrap the EFCC becomes more alarming.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly and all Nigerians to vigorously reject this attempt to perpetrate fraud on the nation by effectively scuttling the EFCC and shutting down Nigeria’s anti-corruption war.”