The Senate at its plenary session of Tuesday, 29 June 2021 passed for second reading the Bill seeking to establish the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Agency, to provide an effective legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of the proceeds of crime or benefits derived from unlawful activities (SB 553).
Leading the debate on the Bill, the Majority Leader of the Senate, Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya (APC: Kebbi) informed lawmakers that the need to establish the agency, is as a result of inadequacies in existing statutory provisions on the recovery and management of stolen assets in Nigeria, the absence of a central database on recovered assets, and reported cases of mismanagement, stolen or missing assets already recovered.
According to Sen. Yahaya, one of the vital criteria for Nigeria to secure its Membership with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is through the establishment of a comprehensive and consistent framework on asset recovery which is an effective tool against money laundering, terrorist financing, etc. He noted that the passage of the Bill into law will be in accordance with Recommendation 4 of the FATF which deals with “Confiscation and Provisional Measures”.
In addition, Sen Yahaya explained that Recommendation 4 of the FATF requires countries to establish mechanisms that allows competent authorities to freeze or seize and confiscate property laundered; proceeds from, or instrumentalities used in or intended for use in money laundering or predicate offences; property that is the proceeds of, or used in, or intended or allocated for use in, the financing of terrorism, terrorist acts or terrorist organisations; or property of corresponding value without prejudicing the rights of bona fide third parties.
The Bill which has been referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes for further legislative scrutiny was transmitted to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari through a letter dated 6 October 2020.