…New agency curbs EFCC, other’s powers over recovered assets

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Thursday praised the Federal Government on its decision to establish the Proceeds of Crime Assets Recovery Agency.

Agbakoba said the Agency would reduce the workload of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which, hitherto, handled that activity.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved a memo for the establishment of the Agency last Wednesday at the 15th virtual Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC).

The memo was prepared by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

Malami told reporters afterward that the bill, which will be forwarded to National Assembly soon, would end the era when various government agencies work at variance with regards to the recovered assets.

Responding to the move in a statement, Agbakoba said: “I congratulate the Federal Government and especially the Attorney-General of the Federation on the establishment of the proceeds of crime assets recovery Agency.

“My reason is simple; the EFCC is saddled with far too many responsibilities beyond its best capabilities. The EFCC performs three functions albeit related but unnecessary to concentrate on one Agency-Investigations, prosecution, and Assets recovery.

“The standard recommended and indeed prescribed by the Financial Action Task Force, the international agency mandated with proceeds of crime matters, is that these functions vested in EFCC must be carried out by distinct agencies for competence efficiency and transparency.

“I fully support divesting EFCC from managing assets recovered from proceeds of crime and further divestment of their power to prosecute is necessary. This will make the anti-corruption strategy more effective.”

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