The Coalition of Integrity Political Parties (CIPP) has called for the merger of Anti-graft agencies in the country, and to be supervised by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and Minister of Justice.
A statement issued by National Spokesman of CIPP, Dr Yakubu Shendam on Sunday in Jos, Plateau, stated that merging the Anti-graft agencies would be more meaningful when coordinated by the minister’s office as obtained in most developed countries.
According to Shendam, the call comes on the heels of media reports that the AGF has taken over the powers of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC).
“In United States (U.S.), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overseen by the Justice Department, and bringing the various anti-corruption agencies under the AGF is the only way of curtailing bottlenecks and cost of prosecuting corruption cases.
“Nigerians must make efforts to look at the positives of government policies rather than paying attention to individuals and groups that have made opposition of government a business.
“It is obvious that when two or more organisations are playing similar roles, confusion will set in at some point hence, need for coordination,” Shendam stated.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the AGF for their foresight and continued support to the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies responsible for the recovery and repatriation of recovered assets.
It would be recalled that the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had explained that the EFCC and ICPC still retained their powers to seize assets from corrupt suspects.
Shendam quoted the minister as saying, “Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 as contained in the Federal Government Gazette Vol. 106, No 163 was informed by the need to regulate the procedures for the tracing, recovery, management and disposal of illegally acquired assets as required under various extant legislation.
“Such extant legislation includes the EFCC Act, 2004, the ICPC Act, 2000, and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012, as well as the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013.
“Others are the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency Act, 2018 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019.
“Section 4 of the Regulations retains all the powers of law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in their extant laws as it relates to asset recovery and therefore the issue of taking over the powers of these agencies does not arise.
“However, where more than one agency is involved in the tracing of the same proceeds of crime, the Attorney General shall coordinate and ensure that there is synergy and successful recovery.
“The 2019 Regulations provides for the oversight of the non-conviction based forfeiture by the Attorney General as it requires the application of civil procedure in the recovery of specific assets.”