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Senate readies to re-amend Proceeds of Crime Bill 2022 a week after passage

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The Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, passed by the senate last week is being considered for a re-amendment as the upper legislative chamber indicated on Tuesday.

The consideration of a motion for re-commital sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North) prompted the decision to re-amend the bill.
The senate lader relied on Orders 1(b) and 52(6) of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 (as amended) to move for the amendment of the bill

He explained that the re-amendment of the bill became expedient following the amendment that was made to Clause 74 which placed the Burden of proof on the investigating Agencies but not on the Defendant as recommended by the Joint Committee in its report.
According to him, the amendment runs contrary to the provision of Article 12(7) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

Article 12(7) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime provides that, “States Parties may consider the possibility of requiring that an offender demonstrate the lawful origin of alleged proceeds of crime or other property liable to confiscation.”

On the need to amend the Clause 74 of the bill, Abdullahi said, “the implication of the amendment is that civil forfeitures would be a thing of the past in Nigeria as there would not be final forfeitures without a conviction. 

“Implying that all property seized are included in the clause, even those that may be incidental to an arrest and may contain evidence needed for investigation of the crime.”

“For example, phones, computers, documents, photographs etc recovered from suspected kidnappers, drug barons, human and child traffickers, cyber criminals, terrorists and the like would also wait for convictions before they can be seized, even in situations where the suspects are at large and the properties can be recovered for the benefit of the victim and Nigerians where applicable. 

“Another example of a conundrum, is the “Ikoyi Loot” case, where no one has yet come to claim ownership of the funds and since there are no suspects to convict, the status of the funds would by virtue of this amendment remain in perpetual limbo, pending trial and conviction when the owner can be found if ever. 

“The amendment also runs contrary to our International commitments, obligations and best practices as contained in those Conventions, Treaties and Protocols to which we are signatories and have as well domesticated”, the Senate Leader added.

Accordingly, the chamber in a resolution rescinded its decision on Clause 74 of the bill as passed.

The Senate, thereafter, recommitted the bill to the committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to engage the relevant agencies with a view to exploring safeguard against abuse.  

The Proceeds of Crime Bill seeks to provide for the restraint, seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of properties derived from unlawful activities. 

The bill, when signed into law, would expand the mandates of existing statutory institutions to manage proceeds of crime, and facilitate the establishment of departments in relevant organisations to manage forfeited assets as well as provide for effective legal framework for the recovery of proceeds of crime.

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Legislature

NASS Clerk wades into DSS, Staff face-off, tells security operatives to be civil

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***Reads riot act

Apparently piqued by the commotion caused by the alleged brutality of some top staff of the National Assembly on Friday by the personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Clerk to the National Assembly(CNA), Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal has read the riot act to all security operatives in the complex.
He charged them to be civil in carrying out their duties at all times.
A statement signed by Birma Shuaibu Maina, Secretary, Human Resources and Staff Development on behalf of the CNA pointed out that the top management of the National Assembly was aware of the unfortunate incident that happened on Friday, 17th May, 2024.
It further said the CNA and top management team visited Comrade Odo at the National Assembly Clinic and immediately called for an emergency meeting between the Management, Security Personnel and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) officials during which the “unfortunate incident” was deliberated upon and unanimously resolved as follows:
“That DSS and other Security operatives should work in harmony with the Sergeant-At-Arms.
“All security operatives within the National Assembly Complex should be civil in the discharge of their duties.
“All members of Staff should always display their I. D. cards for easy identification”.
Finally, the CNA and the top management appealed to the staff to be “calm, peaceful and law abiding as the situation is under control”.
It will be recalled that a face-off between the DSS and some staff of the National Assembly Friday, led to the brutalization of two senior staff of NASS leading to demonium at the complex

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Legislature

Natasha makes case for local industries development

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***Pays courtesy call on SMEDAN DG

The Chairman Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, on Thursday, made a strong case for the development of Local industries through creation of a market for local manufacturers rather than just training them in their existing skills.


She spoke when she met with the Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, to make case for the growth of local factories and the manufacturing of made-in-Nigeria products.

The meeting, also attended by Senator Ede Dafinone, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, focused on developing local content, investing in local manufacturers, and strengthening homemade products to boost the economy and create jobs for youth.


Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan emphasised the need to support local manufacturers and promote made-in-Nigeria products, highlighting the potential of local products like handwoven fabrics (popularly known as Kitipa in Ebira parlance), which can be used to produce shoes for military, paramilitary, and Corps members. This, she noted, would reduce importation and boost the economy.

“You cannot teach a local person how to make shea butter or black soap. They already know it. But what they need is market and access to finance.
“Local manufacturers need training on how to access markets and brand their products for international export. They already possess the skills, but need guidance on branding and marketing,” she stated.

Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan cited examples of successful international partnerships, such as the French cosmetics company L’occitane and Burkina Faso’s Shea butter industry, and Zara and Ethiopia’s cotton industry. She suggested that Nigeria could similarly partner with international brands like Prada or Louis Vuitton to boost its leather industry, creating revenue and downstream sectors.

The lawmaker criticised the government’s ‘50,000-era enterprise’ initiative, stating that it does not effectively support local industries.

She also emphasised the need for agencies like SON and NAFDAC to be more accessible and responsive to small-scale businesses.

By harnessing the local content of every part of the country, growing and strengthening it to produce in commercial quantity for local consumption and export, Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan believes that Nigeria can create more jobs, reduce importation, and boost the economy.

In his remarks, the SMEDAN boss promised to create a viable market for local content industry by working closely with the National Assembly to encourage local manufacturers to boost the local products that are needed in the country and valued outside the shores of Nigeria.

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Senate okays establishment of North West Development Commission

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The Senate has approved the North West Development Commission (NWDC) bill to address the challenges facing the seven states in the geopolitical zone.

The approval came after the consideration and adoption of the report of the Committee on Special Duties on the NWDC (Establishment).

The bill to establish the commission was sponsored by t

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin and 20 other senators from the seven states in the North West geopolitical zone sponsored the bill to establish the commission
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Shehu Lawan Kaka (APC, Borno Central) moved the motion for the presentation and consideration of the report, while Sen. Ireti Kingibe (LP, FCT) seconded it.
Presenting the committee’s report, Senator Kaka pointed out that the intent and purpose of the bill are well structured and strategically streamlined for the socio-economic development of the North West geopolitical zone of the country.

He added that the commission’s establishment would bring the federal government closer to the North Western states and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
He, therefore, urged the Senate to pass the bill.

When the bill was put to vote by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I Jibrin, who presided over the plenary, the senators unanimously supported it.

In his remarks, Senator Barau commended his colleagues for supporting the bill’s passage.

When established, he said the commission would address the challenges facing the geopolitical zone and, by extension, the country.

Describing the North West as the food basket of the country, he said the commission, when established, will work towards the restoration of infrastructure destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in the region.

” So if we are serious about ensuring we have food and for food security to be attained in this country, we must provide the necessary infrastructure for all our key sectors to thrive well.

“This commission is needed. I commend you all for supporting this; no one said no. Everybody supported this idea. So, now we are pushing the Bill to the House of Representatives for their approval and then to Mr President for assent,” he said.

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