Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Abubkar Malami has hit back at critics of his recent constitution of a 22-member inter-ministerial committee set up to dispose assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Malami has come in for lot of criticism as a result of his action with his attackers claiming the power to sell such assets or raise a panel to do so does not reside in his office but the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Responding via a statement he released on Tuesday, the minister hit back at his critics saying their position smacked of ignorance of the law.
It reads in part, “The lack of understanding of the law was imminent in the wrong impression being created which was fuelled by the faulty assumption that only the EFCC is engaged in asset recovery and forfeiture proceedings. Hence the challenge to the setting-up and mandate of the Committee.
“In issuing regulations and setting up a committee for asset disposal, the Attorney-General of the Federation was guided, amongst other statutory provisions, by the wordings of sections 31(4) & 43 of the EFCC Act, which confers the Attorney-General of the Federation with the powers to make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise of any of the duties, functions or powers of the EFCC (inclusive of asset disposal).
“For the avoidance of doubt Section 43 of the EFFC Act provides thus: ‘The Attorney-General of the Federation may make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise of any of the duties, functions or powers of the commission under this Act.’
“It is elementary law that the process of asset forfeiture and disposal constitutes part and parcel of criminal prosecution. It is also trite law that all prosecuting agencies derive their powers to prosecute from that of the constitutional and statutory powers of the Attorney General of the Federation.”