The Federal Government has approved a new law mandating the retention of 30 percent of funds recovered on behalf of states and local governments across the country.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) confirmed the new law to Daily Trust yesterday while pledging to make available further details on the development.
The law, which is titled: 'Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019', was signed by the AGF on October 24 to take effect from November 1.
The law empowers the AGF's office to manage final forfeited asset, approve the appointment of asset managers, operate and maintain centralised database for the storage of records of all recovered asset within and outside Nigeria.
The AGF's office is also to ensure inter-agency investigation, coordination and tracing of proceeds of crime within and outside Nigeria, collation of all data relating to recovered asset within and outside Nigeria from all law enforcement agencies with powers to undertake recoveries, and maintaining a depository for all forfeiture orders issues by Nigerian courts and such other courts outside Nigeria, among others.
The law was gazzetted as No. 88 in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No. 163, Vol. 106 of 29th October, 2019.
Earlier this year, the chairperson of the Technical Committee and Head of the Secretariat for the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs Ladidi Mohammed indicated the intention of the ministry to retain some of the assets recovered on behalf of states and local governments due to the high cost incurred by the national government in negotiating for the recoveries and the lack of consensus with sub-national governments on the projects which the assets would be utilised.
Besides the Abacha loots, the AGF's office is also negotiating for the return of $900m taken by former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha's to the United Kingdom, and the $250m by former Delta State governor, James Ibori in the UK.