Attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami has expressed that stolen funds recovered from foreign countries are subject to international agreements by the parties involved.
He stated this in a statement signed by Umar Gwandu, Malami’s spokesperson, on Tuesday, to a report that attorneys-general of the 36 states sued the AGF over the alleged failure of the federal government to remit recovered funds into the federation account.
The minister said such recoveries are not subject to local legislation in view of multiple sovereignties involved.
Malami, in the statement, said there is no particular provision in Nigeria’s Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission Act to address the usage of such funds.
“Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission Act has nothing specific on funds recovered from indicted public officers. It merely mentions accruals and disbursement of revenue from the federation account. So, questions of recovery of stolen funds from indicted public officers are appropriately dealt with by other relevant laws,” he said.
“It is, therefore, misleading to give the impression that such recoveries and usage of stolen funds and stashed abroad are provided for by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act.
“One cannot situate rights and entitlements on looted funds and recovered assets with myopic and narrow understating of concepts of the application of local legislations.
“For the avoidance of doubt and the purpose of setting the record straight, the application of the looted funds can only be factored within the context of mutual understanding and negotiations of international and multifaceted jurisdictional and territorial legislative issues.
“The recovery of stolen assets and the subsequent uses to which these funds may be employed are subject to international agreements between Nigeria and the affected countries, thereby bringing conflict of laws into contemplation.
“Importantly also, these repatriated funds are based on cooperation and mutual assistance agreements, especially the United Nation Convention against Corruption and Implementation of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) Principles on the Repatriation of Stolen Assets. The African Union and the ECOWAS Protocols on recovery of illicit funds are equally relevant when it comes to the role of Nigeria in relation to its other partners.”