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Monday, 29 June 2009

Nigeria Corruption war


Asset Recovery and anti-corruption are principally governed by the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) (Establishment) Act, 2004. Both statutes require conviction before assets can be forfeited. However, the laws provide for interim forfeiture of the assets under investigation through an ex-parte process.

The EFCC Act 2004 requires a person arrested for corruption or other economic and financial crimes to declare all his assets. Any false information furnished regarding this is an offence and is punishable by 5 years imprisonment. The disposal of forfeited assets is only upon a final order of court and such assets payable to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. All instrumentalities of crime directly or indirectly connected to the commission of the offence are liable to forfeiture.

Presently, Nigeria does not have a non-conviction based asset forfeiture regime although there are ongoing plans to incorporate this into the laws.

Some recent cases include:

  • In 2005, Mr. Tafa Balogun, then Chief of Police was tried and convicted and sentenced forcorruption and ML. Assets worth over N17 billion were confiscated and returned to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The assets were misappropriated monies meant for the welfare of the Police.
  • In 2007, Mr. DSP Alamiesagha, former Governor of Bayelsa State was also tried, convicted and sentenced for corruption and ML. As governor the poverty stricken state of Bayelsa, he stole huge sums from the treasury meant for development projects, approximately N15billion. Some of these assets were traced to the UK, and South Africa. These monies are in the process of being realized and return to Nigeria.

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