Press Briefing By The Inter-Ministerial Committee On The Disposal Of Assets Forfeited To FG
PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON THE DISPOSAL OF ASSETS FORFEITED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA
As you may all recall, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the Federal Government (“the Committee”) was inaugurated on 9th November, 2020 following a Presidential directive of 27th October 2020 made in recognition of the pressing need for the Office of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation to coordinate and oversee a uniform process or common platform for the recovery, management and sale of all assets forfeited to the Federal Government rather than each agency working in silos without proper supervision thereby leading to the loss or wastage of the assets.
It is to be noted that this coordination by the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation is in line with international best practices, the need for efficient management of recovered assets, and also in furtherance of the exercise of the extant powers and functions conferred on him as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation under Sections 150(1) & 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) which is the source of all prosecutorial powers of the State.
The eminent status and powers of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation in relation to criminal matters and operation of law enforcement agencies are well grounded under common law, the Constitution and enabling laws of the line agencies. It needs to be emphasized that asset recovery and disposal constitutes an integral part of the administration of criminal justice which are all within the purview of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Committee is working assiduously to complete its assignment within the six (6) months’ time frame as spelt out in the presidential directive and is guided by the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and its Terms of Reference (TOR). The Regulations were made pursuant to extant laws of the relevant agencies with a view to ensuring transparency, accountability, synergy, etc in the management and sale of forfeited assets. The Committee will also be guided further by the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and all relevant extant rules and regulations.
The composition of the Committee reflects a fair spread across relevant MDAs. It is interesting to note that the composition of the Committee cuts across institutions not only involved in the asset recovery but also institutions with special skills, competences and oversight of security over the assets. The membership is as follows:
a. Office of the Chief of Staff to the President representing the Presidency;
b. Federal Ministry of Justice (represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, who is also the Chairman of the Committee);
c. Federal Ministry of Finance;
d. Federal Ministry of Works and Housing;
e. Auditor-General of the Federation;
f. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission;
g. Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission;
h. Nigerian Army (Joint Task Force);
i. Nigerian Navy;
j. Nigeria Police;
k. Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps;
l. Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency;
m. Department of State Security;
n. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency;
o. Department of Petroleum Resources;
p. National Oil Spillage, Detection and Response Agency;
q. Bureau of Public Procurement;
r. Representatives of Civil Society Organization, Youths, and the Media;
s. Any other Nigerian with exceptional expertise that could add value to the Committee as deemed fit by the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
While the Committee Secretariat is housed in the Asset Recovery & Management Unit, Federal Ministry of Justice.
Since inauguration, the committee has held several meetings and consultations and has worked assiduously to develop its work plan, templates, strategies and modalities, in line with relevant Laws and Regulations, to aid it in the discharge of its mandate within the set time limits.
The Committee holds sacred the twin features of transparency and accountability paramount in the discharge of this monumental national assignment of disposing assets forfeited to the government. Accordingly, members have executed Conflict of Interest and Non-Disclosure Forms. Furthermore, as part of the Work-plan geared towards transparency, the Committee has adopted a Communication and Media Strategy to keep the interested members of the public abreast of the activities of the committee. This is particularly in recognition of the fact that undoubtedly, the disposal of forfeited assets is in the best interest of the public.
Thus far, the Committee has:
a. Collated and is still updating the list of assets that have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria;
b. noted that the forfeited assets are currently situated in 25 locations;
c. embarking on onsite verification/auditing of the forfeited assets to confirm their existence and ascertain their current state;
d. Sought the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on the asset valuation process in line with extant rules and regulation;
e. Developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions as it relates to the mandate and activities of the committee which will be released to the media/public; and
f. made publications in the Federal Tenders Journal and two (2) National Newspapers (ThisDay and the Daily Trust) on 1st February, 2021 to kick-start the disposal process. Please note that the Committee intends to engage valuers and auctioneers as part of the process in the disposal of assets forfeited to the Federal Government and the list of assets will be published accordingly. Interested persons/firms are encouraged to look out for the publication and make submissions in the required format and within the specified timelines.
The Committee is expected to carry out the following final forfeited assets:
LOT NO | DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE
Lot 1 | LANDED PROPERTIES
Lot 2 | PLANTS, MACHINERY, MOTOR VEHICLES, ELECTRONICS, FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT.
Lot 3 | WATER VESSELS (CANOES, BOATS, BARGES, SHIP)
Lot 4 | JEWELRY, ORNAMENTS AND CLOTHING MATERIALS.
It is worth restating that parts of the goals for which Mr. President gave the go ahead for the setting-up of this Committee includes the need to:
i. institutionalize a uniform process for the management and disposal of recovered/forfeited assets;
ii. put an end to poor management and wastage of assets which prevents government from realizing the full benefits of the forfeiture;
iii. shore-up the revenue profile of government;
iv. establishment of a Centralized Database on Recovered Assets; and
v. coordination/collaboration amongst Anti-Corruption and Law Enforcement Agencies in Asset recovery/management, etc.
On this note, let me assure Nigerians, on behalf of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation, that the composition of the Committee is broad based and represents all relevant stakeholder interest that will guarantee efficiency and adherence to due process. The Committee remains highly committed to ensure a radical departure from the past by ensuring that government receives adequate value for forfeited assets and also to ensure that the assets are neither misappropriated nor mismanaged but are dealt with for public good. Accordingly, in line with the Committees’ Communication and Media Strategy, periodic update on milestone achieved will be made public from time to time.
Thank you very much.
Dayo Apata, SAN
Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary
& Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets Forfeited to the FGN
2nd February 2021