The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a bill seeking to establish the Crime Proceeds Recovery and Management Agency to be presented for consideration and passage by the National Assembly. Briefing newsmen after the Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the bill seeks to provide the requisite legal and institutional framework for management of proceeds of crime hitherto scattered all over the place.
He said: “It is a bill that is targeted and intended to have in place a legal and institutional framework. The legal component of it is having a law. And the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria. “What happens before now is the proceeds of crime are scattered all over, and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS, EFCC, and ICPC.” According to him, the previous arrangement was ad hoc as no particular agency was accountable for data on proceeds of crime in the country. Malami added that the new law seeks to move the fight against corruption to a next level of transparency and accountability with an agency responsible exclusively for management of proceeds of crime.
He explained further that the proposed agency will coordinate recovered resources and provide necessary information to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for them to be factored into annual national budget. Asked whether the proposed bill was a fallout of government’s current experience in the EFCC, the minister said the bill had been presented to FEC in the past, but was rejected. According to him, the bill was presented to Council in 2007, 2011 and 2019 but was rejected, saying that it would be unfounded to link it with recent development without considering its antecedents.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, also told newsmen that the Council approved a new national policy on occupational safety and health, tagged National Policy on Occupational Safety 2020. Ngige explained that the new policy was to ensure that all workers were safe at their work places across the country, adding that it was derived from provisions of the Nigerian constitution and the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention.