The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) has stated that the recently passed Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA) would help address the architectural gaps in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The ICPC Chairman stated this during a one-day capacity building training for officers of the Commission on the POCA and Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Acts 2022 held at the Commission’s headquarters.
Professor Owasanoye explained that the training was organised to keep the staff of the Commission abreast with two of the new legislations recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari about two weeks ago.
According to him, corruption and other related offences such as money laundering and illicit financial flows undermine the stability of, not only Nigeria but other countries, adding that in the quest to fight the menace of corruption, countries now engage in self-assessment, which considers several indices and reveals many things including vulnerabilities.
The ICPC boss added that since corruption is sophisticated, many countries have designed various mechanisms for dealing with unexplained wealth.
“One of the examples that we have found that worked in other countries is civil recovery or civil forfeiture. Because corruption is a crime, the global standard was that you must prove beyond reasonable doubt… whoever is alleging must prove beyond reasonable doubt … and this can very challenging especially when you are dealing with intangible assets and timid capital.”
“For the first time in Nigeria, we have the reversal of the burden of proof,” he added.
The Chairman implored all participants, particularly prosecutors, to take advantage of the innovations of the two new legislations as they carry out their work in fighting corruption in the country.
Four papers were presented on the topics, Introduction to the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act 2022 – Legal Procedures, Introduction to Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act 2022 – Administrative Issues under the Act, Innovations Under the Introduction to Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022, and Quick Wins under the Introduction to Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.
The presenters were Yetunde Mosunmola, Olakunle Akinsola, John Paul Okwor, and Paul Okoko, all officers of the Commission.