Nigeria needs laws to tackle unexplained wealth, Chairman EFCC

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, has called for legislation against unexplained wealth in Nigeria.

He explained that such a law would help check the criminal activities of treasury looters in the country.

In a statement by the EFCC Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Thursday, the Chairman made the call during the Two- Day International Law Conference with the theme: “Unexplained Wealth in the Global South: Examining the Asset Recovery and Return Trajectory” organized by Christopher University, Mowe Ogun State.

He said the absence of laws against unexplained wealth had forced the anti-graft agency to rely on the “provisions of Section 7 of its Establishment Act” to investigate assets with corruption linkage.

“The issue of unexplained wealth is not a local issue. There are jurisdictional legislations across the world to tackle it. Till date, countries of the world are faced with criminalities emanating from money laundering practices and illicit funds,” Olukoyede said.

“This circumstance led to the promulgation of Unexplained Wealth Orders, UWOs that came into force in 2018. Several countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Mauritius and African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, have come up with UWO. Nigeria is yet to come up with a national legislation on it,”

In Nigeria, unexplained wealth has become a practical means of tracing, identifying, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases.

As an anti-graft agency, suspects of any economic and financial crimes are usually required to declare their assets in the course of investigation.

“The basis for this is to properly establish their true asset base and their linkage or otherwise to any act of corruption. Owing to the absence of legislation on the issue of unexplained wealth, the EFCC continues to rely on provisions of Section 7 of its Establishment Act to handle it.”

Olukoyede said treasury looters would have little cover if the issues of unexplained wealth were tackled more seriously across the world.

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Comfort Samuel

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