HEDA sues Malami, says Asset Tracing regulation undermines EFCC, ICPC, NDLEA, NAPTIP and NIS

Posted by News Express | 4 February 2021 | 563 times

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•Justice Minister Abubakar Malami

Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), has dragged to court the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019.

HEDA said certain sections contradict the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Immigration Act and the Law on Traffic in Human Persons.

The rights group said the Asset Tracing regulations also violate certain provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The group said the Asset Tracing law merely gives arbitrary power to the Justice Minister which undermines effective performance of the two leading anti-corruption commissions and other law enforcement agencies.

HEDA observed the duplication of legal framework which only ends up creating power blocs that put asunder the efficiency of the EFCC and the ICPC. HEDA’s request is backed by the demand for an Order of the Court nullifying all sales and disposals of assets made by the Justice Minister pursuant to the said Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 same being ultra vires by the office and powers of the Defendant.

“We want the court to resolve this conflict once and for all. The Asset Tracing regulations unnecessarily empowers the Minister of Justice almost to the point of putting chains in the hands of the ICPC and the EFCC. This is not good for the level of independence the anti-graft agencies deserve,” HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju said. He argued that HEDA decided to proceed to court to strengthen the capacity of the EFCC and the ICPC and free the two from the possible manipulation by powerful external interests.

HEDA’s lawyer Omotayo Olatubosun wants the court to determine whether the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 is not a violation of several sections in the EFCC Act and the ICPC Act, 2000.

HEDA described the Asset Tracing policy as an invalid statutory instrument the former having conferred no power arrogated by the Justice Minister to himself in the latter regulations.

In the originating summon prepared by HEDA, the rights group wants the Federal High Court holding in Lagos to determine whether Regulations 3(a) and 3(b) of the Asset Tracing and Regulation law is not in conflict with Section 1 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act No.1 of 2004 on the coordination of various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria and thereby constituting an infringement of Section 4(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) as to render the said Regulations 3(a) and (b) a nullity. The support affidavit was signed by HEDA’s Programme Manager, Mr Sina Odugbemi.

HEDA asked the High Court to declare that Regulations 3(a) and 3(b) of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 are in conflict with several sections of the EFCC Act including but not limited to Section 1 of the EFCC Act, 2004 on the coordination of various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria and thereby constituting an infringement of certain sections like Section 4(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) as to render the said Regulations 3(a) and (b) a nullity

It argued that the section also violates Sections 45(2), 49(1) and (2), Section 57(2) and (3) of Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administrative Act No. 4, 2015 on the disposal of final forfeited assets and thereby constituting an infringement of Section 4(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered)

HEDA pointed out that the law is in conflict with Section 38(2) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap. N30, LFN, 2004 on the disposal of final forfeited assets and thereby constituting an infringement of Section 4(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) and Section 91(2) and (3) of the Immigration Act (No. 8 of 2015) on the disposal of final forfeited assets and thereby constituting an infringement of Section 4(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered).

The group sought an Order of the Court to nullify the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 same being in excess of the provisions of the ICPC and the EFCC.

 


Source: News Express

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