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EFCC, NJI, stakeholders seek legislation on unexplained wealth



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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Judicial Institute (NJI), and other stakeholders in the anti-graft war have called for robust, globally acceptable legislation to tackle the issue of unexplained wealth in Nigeria.

This call came out of a communiqué issued on Thursday, October 5, 2023, at the end of the 5th EFCC-NJI Capacity Building Workshop for Justices and Judges at the NJI, Jabi, Abuja. According to the Communique, “there is an urgent need to enact legislation to address the issue of possession of unexplained wealth or assets”.

Mr. Wahab Shittu, SAN, speaker at the 7th session of the workshop, pointed out that, unlike what has been obtained in other territories like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Nigeria, Nigeria has yet to enact a law to address the issue of unexplained wealth. “In Nigeria, the issue of unexplained wealth has long been a cause for worry. Luxurious lives and lavish possessions that seem at odds with declared salaries have prompted inquiries regarding the sources of such wealth”, he said. To address this issue, the workshop raised a call on the National Assembly to come up with legislation against it.

Other issues that form the body of the Communique include the need for enhanced training for judicial officers and staff of anti-corruption agencies to deal with new trends and acquire skills required for the complex processes of asset tracing and seizures, plea bargaining, cryptocurrency, data protection, artificial intelligence, and other emerging typologies of economic and financial crimes.

Other issues are: “Efforts should be made by all stakeholders to achieve full implementation of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, to ensure that persons are not allowed to benefit from the proceeds of their crime”. The issue of the development of a comprehensive whistle-blower and witness protection act to aid the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases by relevant agencies was also raised, among others.

Participants at the three-day workshop, which featured respectable jurists, including Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Judges of the Federal and State High Courts, senior members of the bar, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Acting Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkol, Secretary to the Commission, Dr. George Ekpungu, investigators, and prosecutors across the country, called on members of the National Assembly and Nigerian Bar Association to be future participants, “as the issues discussed in the workshop also affect their members”.

The workshop, themed “Consolidating on the Gains in the Fight Against Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria”, was declared open on Tuesday by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in attendance, among other dignitaries.

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