The Senator Representing Enugu North zone and chairman of the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care, Chukwuka Utazi, has said that the proceed of crime bill would be important key to fight against corruption if passes into act.
Senator Utazi, disclosed this in a statement he made available to newsman in Abuja, noted that the bill in the last senate was unable to complete its journey to become an act due to the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council after the 2019 general election.
He explained the circumstance that led to the non-signing of the bill he sponsored in the last senate: “The issue is that all these anti-graft agencies that prosecute and seize properties are also keeping them.
“They manage them until final forfeiture in the court. So, in the bill i sponsored in the 8th Assembly, we made it clear that the EFCC and other anti graft agencies don’t have the capacity to manage these assets. That is the essence of the bill.
“To start with, the proceed of crime bill is a statute of universal application because once you are a signatory to the United nations convention against corruption 2000, you are meant to do this.
“As a state party, once you become a signatory, you pick this legislation and domesticate it in your own environment and it begins to work for you, just like we did for the Mutual Legal Assistance. It is the same thing with this Proceed Of Crime,” he said.
Utazi, who chaired the last committee on anti-corruption in the 8th Senate, said, “Now that the Attorney General has come back without that law being signed and it has lapsed in line with the process of law making in Nigeria”.
He noted that the Attorney General has indicated that he will represent the bill. “When the bill come, we will look at the content to find out if it is the same as the one we passed in the 8th assembly or is it a new one with additional suggestions, we will consider them accordingly. But that law is very, very fundamental to the fight against corruption.
“It is important that government should profit from seized assets across the country and in fact, across the world. Once we have the assets management body, in the form of the proceed of crime agency, it becomes their duty, not that of the anti graft agency, to pursue and make sure that such assets in any part of the world are released to the Federal government and are managed anywhere they are, profitably for the country. That’s what should be done and we are waiting for the bill to come,” he added.
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