The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the Nigerian government to fast-track the enactment of the proceed of crime legislation that will guarantee the proper management and utilization of recovered assets.
The Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani made the call while briefing journalists on the “State of Asset Recovery and Management in Nigeria” on Friday in Abuja.
Rafsanjani decried the fact that the executive and legislatures have refused to enact domestic legal framework in managing the nation’s recovered assets.
He admitted the fact that success has been achieved in recent years in regards to the recovery of assets, but noted that its advocacy is for the speedy return of assets which he said has lost its moral high ground.
Rafsanjani therefore urged the government to implement the passing of a legal framework around the management and utilization of recovered assets, establish a central database for all recovered assets and the inclusion of civil society organizations in the asset recovery process.
He said,”We call for the enactment of the Proceed of Crime Legislation with no excuses. The delay in passing this legislation which the Nigerian government committed to in 2016 greatly undermines asset recovery and management process in Nigeria.
“It costs the Nigerian public billions in lost opportunity as international partners refuse to engage and domestic recoveries continue to be mismanaged or worse.
“In order to ensure transparency and accountability, we call on the government to establish a database that would contain details of persons from they were recovered and how the recovered assets are utilized.
“This database should be publicly accessible, and should be containing all interim and final forfeitures of different types of movable and immovable assets seized by different agencies. Except of empty statements from the ministry of justice, we are yet to see some concrete results after many years of extensive international and domestic effort.
“It is important that independent civil society organizations, including victims, groups, representatives, are enabled to participate in the asset recovery process, especially in the process of monitoring and deciding how recovered assets are utilized.”
Rafsanjani demanded for critical questions concerning the P&ID case to answered which include who in the government is responsible for signing such a risky and potentially catastrophic contract with an entity with no track record of similar contracts?
Others include why the Nigerian defense came so late,given that the contract was signed many years ago, how comes that Nigerian defence appeared incompetent or even suspiciously negligent for years?
Also, the P&ID case was used against the ex-EFCC chairman Magu. Has his or EFCC negligence been proven or is the responsibility for the case somewhere else? Perhaps with the political leadership, and not law enforcement?
Rafsanjani pointed out that the P&ID case if lost, Nigerian tax payers will lose $6.6bn plus 7% interest per annum against it for damages in favor of P&ID.
He also noted that foreign recovered assets do not compare to the amount of domestically seized and confiscated assets, which include seized buildings, vehicles and others.