By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said that the issuance of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 is to address the absence of coordination and proper management
of seized, forfeited or confiscated assets as well as to ensure
transparency in the process of disposal of forfeited assets.
This was contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu,
the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar
Malami, SAN and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
The Minister observed that the “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
Such extant legislations included the EFCC Act, 2004, the ICPC Act,
2000, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012, the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, the Nigeria
Financial Intelligence Agency Act, 2018 as well as the Mutual
Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019.
Malami added that 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.
The Attorney General noted that 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
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.
The Minister further highlighted that Section 3 of the 2019
Regulations recognized the need for agencies to provide details of all
seized and forfeited assets to the data bank established by the Federal
Ministry of Justice, while Section 11 of the Regulation addresses the
issue of what happens once assets are disposed of.
According to him, “It is clear from the Regulations that when the assets are disposed,
the funds recovered whether it is recovered from outside or from
within the country shall be paid into the Asset Recovery Account in
the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“From the moment it is paid into this
account, the Minister of Finance becomes accountable for the
management of these funds for the purpose of moving it into the
consolidated revenue account and to disburse it as required under the
“This is an important improvement from what has been the procedure
where agencies maintained multiple accounts after disposing assets.
“It is also important to note that since 2017, the President approved a
line item in the Appropriation Act where Recovered Asset is identified
as a source of revenue.
“No President in the history of Nigeria took this step to understand that all recovered assets belong to all
Nigerians and should be properly accounted for”, he explained.
The Attorney General maintained that Nigerians should commend the President for this foresight and his continuing support to all the efforts of
all the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies responsible for
the recovery and repatriation of recovered assets.
Another benefit of the regulation which the Minister pointed out is that the
Regulations provides for a disposal process that it makes all
stakeholders participants in the disposal exercise.
For example, Section 10(1) of the Gazette reads “the Attorney-General of the Federation shall set up a structure for transparent management of all
Final Forfeited Assets” comprising of relevant stakeholders.
Section 10(2) enumerated the stakeholders to include but not limited
to Federal Ministry of Justice, Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences
Commission, Federal Ministry responsible for matters relating to
Finance; Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Works and
Other stakeholders listed in the Gazette included Accountant-General
of the Federation and Auditor-General of the Federation, Nigerian Army
(Joint Task Force), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria
Security Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency and representative of Civil Society Organizations.