Some powerful forces are at it again to scuttle and sabotage the anti-graft war of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration by moving against the creation of the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency being proposed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to manage recovered loot.
The move which is gathering momentum, Persecondnews learnt, is to sponsor log-rolling in the National Assembly to reject or frustrate the bill from being passed and also to sponsor protest against it.
Part of the flimflam is to engage lobbyists and some individuals close to the Presidency to mount pressure on the president to drop the Executive bill.
Among those fingered championing the fight is the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
They feared that the new agency will not allow them to manipulate the anti-corruption fight of Buhari and divert proceeds of recovered assets to their personal pockets.
Persecondnews had reported that on September 16 the Federal Executive Council approved the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly.
Malami explained that the bill when approved by NASS, would move the fight against corruption to the next level.
“The bill when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.
“What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS, EFCC, ICPC.
“So, with that kind of arrangements, which is ad hoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off-hand the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.
“So it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.
“So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.
“So, a one-stop shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government – you have a one-stop-shop arrangement where you can have an information,” Malami said.
The powerful forces are also afraid of the preliminary report by the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential probe panel investigating Magu which has uncovered many dirty deals by the ex-EFCC boss in collusion with some top individuals in the country.
“It has been discovered that most of the proceeds of crime recovered by the EFCC under Magu have been diverted.
“The forces fighting against the creation of the new agency live large on these recovered proceeds which were supposed to have been declared to the government,”a credible source told Persecondnews.
On July 6, Magu was arrested by a combined team of Department of State Services personnel and policemen and taken to the Presidential Villa in Abuja to answer questions from an investigative panel headed by Salami, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal. He was detained for several days before being released on bail.
The embattled anti-corruption czar was grilled by the panel over financial improprieties, including money laundering and mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC.