…as AGF inaugurates 22-man Inter-Ministerial Committee
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the disposal of all Federal Government Forfeited Assets, within the next six months.
To that effect, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Monday, inaugurated a 22-member Inter-Ministerial Committee, to undertake the assignment.
Malami disclosed that President Buhari approved the composition of the Committee which is headed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, SAN, since October 27,
He said the core mandate of the Committee was to ensure the expedient disposal of all forfeited assets, to generate revenue for the Federal Government.
According to the AGF, “You may recall that pursuant to Mr. President’s directive in October, 2018 following the recommendations of the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets, there was the need for an effective and efficient management of recovered assets, as an interim measure, pending the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Bill.
“In compliance with the directives of Mr. President, the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice issued Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 to provide legal and administrative frameworks for the investigation, tracing, seizure and disposal of stolen or illegally acquired assets and proceeds of crime.
“The Regulation was drawn from the extant laws of the relevant anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies.
“It is aimed at ensuring proper coordination of the disposal of the Federal Government assets and for promoting a uniform, harmonized and transparent procedure to safeguard the assets recovered by the relevant agencies in line with the anti-corruption drive of this administration”.
Malami stressed that the Committee has a timeframe of six months for the disposal of all the forfeited assets, noting that its members were drawn from the relevant agencies that deal with the recovery and disposal of Federal Government of Nigeria’s assets.
He said: “While the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, SAN shall be the Chairman of the Committee, the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Unit under the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice shall serve as the Secretariat of the Committee.
“Twenty-Two members of the Committee shall include, but not limited to, representatives from the following:, Office of the Chief of Staff to the President; Federal Ministry of Justice; Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Ministry of Works and Housing; Auditor-General of the Federation; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission; Nigerian Army; Nigerian Navy; Nigeria Police; Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency; Department of State Security.
“National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Department of Petroleum Resources; National Oil Spillage, Detection and Response Agency; Bureau of Public Procurement; Representatives of the Civil Society Organization; Representative of the Youth; Representative of the Media; and Any other Nigerian with exceptional expertise that could add value to the Committee as deems fit by the Attorney General of the Federation”.
He said responsibilities of the Inter-Ministerial Committee would inlcude to, “Implement provisions of the ATRM Regulations; Ensure the transparency of the disposal of Federal Government Final Forfeited Assets; Ensure the synergy and collaboration between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and Law Enforcement and Anti-corruption Agencies, other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Non-Governmental Organization in the collation of records of all assets.
“Ensure that information flow on assets are in place; Respond to any ongoing Asset Management Audit and the asset performance reports; Consistently implement enablers and controls that support decision making and efficiency of service delivery which govern the disposal of assets; and Development of targets for the Committee in order to measure its performance.
“The Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019, the Standard Operating Procedures and Terms of Reference are the working tools to serve as guidelines for the Inter-Ministerial Committee and how best to actualize the quick disposal of the FGN assets in line with Mr. President directive.
“Your mandate is to ensure the expedient disposal of all FGN Forfeited Assets and generate revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, I wish to solicit the cooperation of all members of this Inter-Ministerial Committee in that respect.
“On this note, I wish to implore the Inter-Ministerial Committee to work as a formidable Team with the relevant agencies in accordance with extant laws and regulations.
“It is also my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country.
“I must, however, warn that the task before the Inter-Ministerial Committee is an enormous one and must be conducted with utmost dignity having the interest of Nigeria at heart.
“Thus, much is expected from the Committee.
“I, therefore, wish the Committee all the best and the guidance and protection of the Almighty in discharging this responsibility”, Malami added.