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HEDA asks Malami to scrap new asset recovery rule or face court action

HEDA asks Malami to scrap new asset recovery rule or face court action
November 24
20:50 2019
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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has given Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, a 14-day ultimatum to scrap the new rule on asset recovery.

Malami had signed a new regulation titled “Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019”, which empowers the federal government to determine procedures anti-corruption agencies must adopt to manage recovered assets.

The new regulation which took effect on November 1, also empowers the federal government to receive from states or local governments 30 percent of the proceeds of recovered assets belonging to either of the two parties.

But in a statement on Sunday, HEDA demanded that the rule should be scrapped as it “promotes corruption” and also whittles down the powers of anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Relates Offenses Commission (ICPC).

The anti-corruption group had written a petition to Malami, where it described the new rule as “a clog in the wheel of the country’s anti-corruption drive”.

The petition was signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, HEDA chairman.

“We hold the stance with respect to the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 that it is overbearing and outreaching and will most certainly result in clashes between the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the powers reposed in the LEAs and the ACAs,”  HEDA said in a statement.

“It is important to note that each LEAs and ACAs have in their enabling statutes the control and management of assets seized. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, 1989 in Section 38 also states that the Secretary to the Agency is saddled with the responsibility of supervising the auction of any forfeited or seized property and then the proceeds are to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Account.

“It is important to note at this juncture that Section 1(2) of the EFCC Act, 2004 states that the EFCC is the designated Financial Intelligence Unit in Nigeria charged with the responsibility of coordinating the various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. Similarly, Section 3(4) of the ICPC Act 2000 also states that the ICPC shall in the discharge of its functions under the Act, not be subject to the discretion or control of any other person or authority.”

HEDA said it will not hesitate to institute a court action if the minister fails to accede to its demand of scrapping the new rule.

“We have the mandate to promote the interest of the public and in the event that our demand is not acceded within 14 days of the receipt of this letter, we shall without further recourse to your office institute an action in court to demand the enforcement of the Constitution,” the statement read.

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