Senate kicks against transfer of forfeited assets to AGF Office

Senate Committee on anti-corruption and financial crimes has faulted the policy directive which mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to transfer all final forfeited asssets of crimes to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) for management.

Issuance and compliance with such directive came up Monday when
the Director of Finance of the anti – graft agency, Gamma Joda Mohammed, appeared before the committee for 2022 budget defence .

Senator Abba Moro (PDP South )who raised the issue, noted that it was wrong for the office of the Attorney General to be in pocession of the forfeited assets of crimes.

He said the assets need to be disposed off for government to raise money to finance the budget.

The EFCC Director of Finance who represented the Chairman, Abdulrahman Bawa, told the committee that EFCC acted in line with the policy directive issued since 2019 that all final forfeited assets should be transferred to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for proper management.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sulaiman Kwari, said the EFCC Bill on Asset Management currently before the National Assembly is aimed at addressing the abnormality in the management of the final forfeited assets from crimes.

The committee also raised concern about the poor funding of the EFCC saying that the federal government should not pay lip service to the fight against corruption in the country.

The Director of Finance of the Commission while defending the 2022 budget proposal said the total fund proposed for the agency in 2022 is N31. 3 billion of which N25.8 billion Is earmarked for personnel cost, N3.6 billion for overhead while the sum of N 1.8 billion is for capital expenditure.

The Director of Operations of EFCC, Mr Abdulkarim Chukkol, who also spoke on the operation of the Commission, said EFCC only have 15 offices across the federation including the headquarters in Abuja.

The committee therefore pleged to jack up the Commission’s budget to enable it execute its core mandate.

Also, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) headed by its Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye(SAN), defended the Commission’s budget before the committee.

Prof. Owasanoye said the total budget proposed for ICPC in 2022 is N12.9 billion of which N9.8 billion is for personnel cost, N1.8 billion is for overhead while only N1.3 billion is for capital expenditure .

Another agency that appeared before the comittee is Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) headed by Mr Tukur Modibo who complained bitterly about the N 350 million capital fund allocated to his agency in 2022 budget.

Mr Modibo who appealed to the Senate for upward review of the allocation to enable the agency carry out it’s mandate without any hindrance.

He also told the committee that the N4 billion was proposed for personnel while N1 billion is for overhead.

In his concluding remarks, the chairman of the committee noted that” some agencies are too important to be limited to envelope system if they must perform their mandates to the fullest”.

He therefore pleged that the committee will table the grievances of the anti-graft agencies to the leadership of the Senate for prompt action.