The federal government recently announced its intention to establish yet another anti-corruption agency. Given the ongoing accounting and management controversies surrounding assets which have reportedly been recovered by the existing agencies, there is reason to view this announcement with a degree of suspicion. If there is one thing that Nigeria does not need, it is another bureaucratic organ dealing with these matters.
In July 2020 the Federal High Court ordered the interim forfeiture of assets allegedly belonging to former Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Chair Ngozi Olejeme. Despite this recovery step, the question remains as to why it took the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission so long to discover Olejeme's alleged connection to these particular assets. Since she left office, the NSITF has allegedly been deprived of more than N69 billion that could have been invested for the benefit of insured employees.
In June 2019 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as part of its investigation into the affairs of a former state governor, reported that it had frozen a number of bank accounts alleged to belong to the former governor which contained suspected public funds. In 2020 the EFCC reported that, to date, a total of N7.9 billion had been recovered from these accounts and more than N5.7 billion had been returned to the state government.
Nigerian entrepreneur Obinwanne Okeke has pleaded guilty to a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme. More than $11 million is said to have been traced to the ring, and it has been claimed that Okeke used proceeds from these activities to establish legitimate business enterprises in Nigeria. This follows from reports in 2019 that the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that N280,500,000 in two bank accounts in Okeke's name be forfeited to the Nigerian government.
The Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 recently came into effect, replacing the existing Proceeds of Crime Regulation 2012. The regulations set out procedures for all law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies – which are supervised by the Attorney General's Office – to ensure the effective coordination of the investigation of illegally acquired assets and the proceeds of crime, among other things.