The Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme is supporting the government of Nigeria to strengthen its anti-corruption legislation.
As a result of its efforts, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Law was enacted by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It aims to help boost the country’s fight against corruption through the repatriation of funds illegally held in foreign countries and to enhance the prosecution of border crimes, amongst others.
In the past, Nigeria relied on the September 1989 treaty signed with the United States Government on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters to pursue the recovery of proceeds of crime committed in country across its borders. Due to the limits of the treaty, the repatriation of funds taken overseas was often an arduous and complicated process. This new law aims to combat the challenges experienced by previous and recent governments in chasing and prosecuting those who commit financial crime and flee the country.
RoLAC is supporting the Law Reform Committee of the Federal Ministry of Justice to pass and enact anti-corruption legislation. Activities include advocacy visits and meetings with principal officers of the National Assembly, including legislators and clerks; an advocacy roundtable for civil society organisation (CSOs) and the media; and technical roundtables to amend the Senate and House versions of these laws.
‘The new law is intended to ensure that where there is a property that is subject of crime or there are crimes committed outside Nigeria or within Nigeria and the person leaves Nigeria. The provisions of the Act authorise the Attorney-General of the Federation, the designated authority in Nigeria, to pursue and use every means possible to prosecute the offence within and outside Nigeria.’
Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters