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Buhari signs new bill …targets criminals within, outside Nigeria

  • President Buhari has signed into law the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act
  • It is meant to target criminals within and outside the country, especially in the fight against corruption
  • The new law comes into effect from June 20, 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019, to further strengthen and boost the ongoing war against corruption within and outside the country.

Ita Enang, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), revealed this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, the new law is meant to obtain from other countries, on reciprocal basis, mutual assistance in the prosecution of criminal matters including the location and identification of suspects, witnesses and other materials for prosecution of criminal matters.

He said that the objectives of the law include: “Identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime;

“The interception of telecommunications (II) (i) conversion of electronic surveillance.

“The restraint of dealings in property, or the freezing of assets, that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences, and other assistance that is not contrary to the municipal law of the requesting State.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation is designated as the Central Authority for making, receiving and transmitting requests for assistance to and from other countries as well as performing other functions reserved in the Act.

“Where the alleged offence is of a political character or an offence under military law or is not an offence under the laws of Nigeria, the provisions of this law shall not apply.”

According to the presidential aide, the law comes into effect from June 20, 2019.

Meanwhile, Peter Nwaoboshi, the lawmaker representing Delta North at the National Assembly, was dragged to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) by the federal government on a three-count charge for false declaration of assets.

The charges, learnt, were filed by the office of the department of public prosecutions of the federal ministry of justice.

The copy of the charges showed that Nwaoboshi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is to be tried for allegedly making false assets declaration in his ‘Form CCB1’ submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) by failing to declare three bank accounts he was said to have been maintaining with a new generation bank since 2015.