By Wandoo Sombo
Abuja, Sept. 17, 2020 The Federal Government on Thursday in Abuja, launched a Central Database to deepen transparency and accountability of recovered stolen assets.
Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) explained that the initiative was to enhance easy access and coordination of assets recovered by anti-graft agencies.
Malami said that the central database would help create a synergy among relevant agencies for the purpose of assets recovery and management.
According to him, it will build transparency and accountability of assets recovered within and outside Nigeria.
“The central database is a product of our commitment as a government towards the fight against corruption with particular reference to our membership of international organizations inclusive of financial action task force and open government partnerships.
“The database is intended to deepen our transparency and accountability and in so doing, we have established that commitment through inclusion of civil society organizations in our fight against corruption.”
The minister said that his office was developing a legislation for the full implementation and operation of the central criminal justice information system in order to ensure compliance.
For his part, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) said that keeping a comprehensive database of recovered assets was a key component of accountability in the fight against corruption.
Owasanoye noted the need for the database to be digitized and put online to allow all anti-graft agencies and other relevant stakeholders have access to it.
He advised the government to remove the management of recovered assets from the anti-graft agencies in order to allow them focus on recovery of the assets as they were not properly equipped to manage recovered assets.
Also speaking, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), DCP Mohammed Umar said that a database of recovered assets was necessary in the fight against corruption.
“The initiative will not only ensure the tracking of all assets forfeited to the government but would also ensure that seized assets from different locations are managed in an effective manner to realize income.”
According to Umar, the EFCC already maintains a data base which contains detailed information of all assets seized or frozen so it will be easy for the commission to key into the new database.
Also speaking, a UK representative, Mr Andrew Clowes advised the Federal Government to be transparent in the management of the centre as well as the recovered assets.
Naija247news reports that the formal launch of the central database is inline with the asset tracing, recovery and management regulations 2019, and the central criminal justice information system under the national anti-corruption strategy 2017 to 2021.