Buhari writes Reps, demands passage of proceeds of crime bill, others

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the House of Representatives to consider and pass the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Bill, the Whistle Blower Bill as well as the Witness Protection Bill, currently pending before the Parliament.

The request was contained in a letter to the House read by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila at plenary on Wednesday.

Buhari said the Bills when passed into law would strengthen Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against corruption.

He told the House that Nigeria participated in the conference of states parties to the United Nations Convention against corruption held from 13 to 17 December 2021 at the International Conference Centre in Egypt where the country was commended for its fight against corruption.

“At the session, the international community expressed appreciation for Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against corruption, reaffirming Nigeria’s rating as a leader in Africa in the area of developing structure for the recovery and repatriation of proceeds of crime.

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“In the light of this and the need to continue to strengthen our global profile, I hereby request that the National Assembly kindly consider and possibly pass a best possible version of the following bills (a) the proceeds of crime bill, (b) the whistleblower bill and (c) the witness protection bill”, the letter read in parts.

The Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Bill sent to the House in 2020 seeks to build an enduring and sustainable foundation for the fight against corruption, money laundering and illicit movement of stolen funds through the banking system and across the Nigerian borders.

When passed into law: “The Bill will also improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to seize, freeze, and confiscate stolen assets in Nigeria while observing all related constitutional and human rights laws.

“This Bill will also address the problem of lack of transparency, accountability, and lack of credible records associated with the current procedure in the management of recovered funds by anti-corruption agencies and other institutions in Nigeria.

“An important feature of the Bill is the creation of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency. The objects of the Agency include the enforcement and administration of the provisions of the Bill and the coordination of the recovery and management of the proceeds and instrumentalities of unlawful activity in Nigeria in collaboration with anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies,” Buhari had said in the letter earlier.

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