Connect with us

Ict/Telecom

Senate Passes Proceeds Of Crime Bill For Second Reading

Published

on

The Senate, yesterday, passed the Proceeds of Crime Bill for second reading.
The Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to provide for a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of proceeds of crime or benefits derived from unlawful activities, harmonize and consolidate the legal provisions on the recovery of proceeds of crime and related matters, 2021” was sponsored by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
Abudullahi in his lead debate noted that the country has been striving to put in place an appropriate Proceeds of Crime legislation since 2007.
He said that efforts to develop a comprehensive bill have been impeded by agency rivalry since 2011.
Abdullahi said, “Effort to sign the Proceeds of Crime Bill into law in 2019 was delayed as a result of complaints by agencies that claimed that the Bill is intended to take away their powers.
“There are many compelling reasons to put in place a comprehensive legislation on recovered assets.
“During the evaluation of Nigeria in 2007 by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF), they observed in their report that the legal framework for the recovery and management of stolen assets in Nigeria is inadequate and do not comply with international standards.
“At the same time, due to lack of centrally managed database on recovered assets, it is difficult to track and maintain the actual number of the seized assets, their location and their value.
“There have been reported and verifiable instances over the years that showed that some recovered assets were being misused, stolen or lost.
“Further investigations have shown that some of the agencies opened multiple accounts for the payment of forfeited assets without keeping proper records.
“It was against this background that Mr. President constituted the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovery of Assets (PACRA) in 2017.
“Not surprisingly, the committee’s findings re-iterated the need for comprehensive and more innovative approach in the management of recovered assets in a transparent and accountable manner so that these assets would become a source of revenue for the country as is the case in many developing and developed countries of the world.
“Following the submission of the report of PACRA in 2018, the President directed that the following measures amongst other be put in place pending the passing of the Proceeds of Crime Bill into law.”
The measures according to him, include, “The establishment of an Asset Recovery and Management Unit in the Federal Ministry of Justice (ARMU/ FMOJ);
“The opening of a central asset recovery (final forfeiture) account and a central (interim forfeiture) account in the Central Bank of Nigeria. This is to enable the FGN track all recovered assets and the benefits derived from them;
“Use of recovered assets/funds as a source of revenue in the Appropriation Act of 2018 and in subsequent Appropriation Acts.”
He added that the reason the country always have to sign these agreements is to convince other countries that the government is focused on the development of the country with the recovered assets and that it will be accounted for in a transparent manner.
He said: “Proceed of Crime legislation is seen as one of the vital conditions to secure Nigeria’s full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“Nigeria’s application has remained elusive as the agencies argue to retain their powers at the expense of national interest.
“The Bill has, however, taken into account the issues raised by the LEAs in relation to their continuing engagement in civil recovery without compromising the international applicable standards in United Nations Conventions.
“It is a generally accepted that crimes, particularly those in the category of economic and financial crimes are usually committed for profit purposes.
“Asset deprivation attacks criminality through this profit motive. In the same way that starving a thriving small business of capital hampers its growth, removing assets from criminal enterprises, including terrorist organizations, kidnapping organizations and bandits who must necessarily undertake their operations with funding from individuals within or outside the country will certainly hinder and deter their illicit operations.
“A strong asset recovery measure can also disrupt the activities of these criminal organizations and reduce the level of insecurity in the country.”
The Kebbi North lawmaker added that removing unlawful assets also, “Engenders confidence in a fair and effective criminal justice system and shows that nobody is above the law.
“Removes the influence of negative role models from communities; deters people from crime by reducing the anticipated returns.
“Provides a powerful disincentive to commit crime in the first instance; prevents reinvestment in criminal activity; and disrupts organised criminal activity.”
Besides, he urged his colleagues to note that “virtually all of the processes and procedures for recovery of proceeds and instrumentalities of crime are, in accordance with international practices, properly brought under judicial oversight and will no longer be left to the whims and caprices of any agency.
“Also noteworthy are the specific statutory timelines established under the proposed enactment to ensure that the constitutional rights of the citizens are guaranteed in the implementation of the recovery processes and procedures.
“Importantly, the exigency of Nigeria having in place this all important piece of legislation cannot be over-emphasised as Nigeria to date is still deficient in meeting this outstanding obligation under Recommendation 4 on Confiscation and Provisional Measures of the FATF Recommendations adopted by the FATF Plenary in February, 2012 and updated in June 2019.
“This FATF Recommendation requires countries to establish mechanisms that will enable their competent authorities to effectively manage and where necessary, dispose of property that is frozen, or seized or has been confiscated and requiring that the mechanisms to be established should be applicable both in the context of domestic proceedings and requests to and by foreign countries.”
Senators in their contributions supported the Bill and approved that it be read a second time when it was put to voice vote by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at plenary.
Lawan thereafter referred the Bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work and to report back in two weeks.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Ict/Telecom

Firms Partner On Payment Ease Across Africa

Published

on

Interswitch, a digital commerce company, and Compass Plus Technologies, provider of retail banking and electronic payments software, have announced a partnership to further strengthen Interswitch’s payment card processing capacity in Africa.
The strategic partnership would see Interswitch utilise TranzAxis, an award-winning, token-based, cloud-native technology and other innovations developed by Compass Plus Technologies for Verve, Visa and Mastercard credit card processing.
Managing Director, Payment Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), Mr Akeem Lawal, stated this in a statement in Lagos recently.
Lawal said the collaboration forms part of the company’s  comprehensive response to the evolving and constantly expanding demand by the African market.
He stated that the partnership would boost Interswitch presence across the continent as it continues to deliver on its promise as the gateway to Africa’s payment ecosystem.
“We are pleased to announce this partnership with Compass Plus Technologies, which aligns with our commitment to making payments easy and convenient.
“Migrating our card processes to the TranzAxis platform will allow us to further improve our service offerings as we remain focused on providing cutting-edge solutions that optimise service delivery”, he said.
Also speaking, the  Vice President and Deputy Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Compass Plus Technologies, Adil Ahmed, said Interswitch has always strived to drive positive change in Middle East and Africa region.
“We are delighted to partner with Interswitch, one of the biggest processors in Africa, and now that they have TranzAxis to support their ambitions, they will continue to revolutionise Africa’s payments space in the region
“This will further strengthen the Verve payments network, and manage their Visa and Mastercard credit card business more efficiently.
“By utilising TranzAxis, Interswitch can rely on its extensive Application Programme Interface (API) capabilities for seamless integration, which significantly accelerates time to market.
“It also provides operational workflows to segregate system set up in compliance with rules and controls required to scale and meet unique market requirements, “ he  noted.
The Tide’s source reports that the new platform had been deployed in one of Interswitch Group’s technology hubs domiciled in Nairobi, Kenya.
The platform would have the capability to process transactions for Interswitch clients across Africa, with localised instances for each country tailored to meet clients’ unique needs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Ict/Telecom

NCC To Lauch 5G Spectrum In August

Published

on

The  Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it would  rollout  the Fifth Generation (5G) technology by August.
Its Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this at the 90th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) held in  Lagos recently.
Danbatta said NCC, through the support of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, would ensure the deployment of spectrum to further accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s broadband services.
“The final letters of award have been issued to MTN and Mafab Communications, which emerged winners of the 3.5GHz Spectrum auction conducted on Dec. 13, 2021.
“In line with the information memorandum, the licensees are expected to commence rollout of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022.
“The successful completion of the process leading to the final letters is  confirmation that the rollout of 5G technology services in Nigeria is on course”, he said.
The EVC reiterated that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  had revealed that 5G network would ensure Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB); Massive machine-type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra-reliable and low-lattency Communications ( URLLC).
He said with the estimated population of 214 million Nigerians, with an average growth rate of 2.6 per cent annually, approximately 76.46 per cent of the population should be under the age of 35.
“In line with the demographic  changes, internet penetration grew from three per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as at September 2022, while broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September 2021.
“The potential for expansion is a great opportunity for 5G deployment as operators are certain of recouping their investment”, he said.
He noted that some challenges of the spectrum identified by ITU included the requirements for more spectrally efficient technologies, which were more than what the current 3G and 4G system required.
According to him, ITU also identified intrinsic  propagation  characteristics of millimetre waves, which may require greater number of base stations.
“It is a challenge that stakeholders must collaborate to address as Nigeria rolls out 5G technology services”, he  said.
Danbatta continued that the goal of the commission was for Nigeria  to be  one of the leading nations with 5G technology deployment that would benefit all stakeholders and contribute maximally to the digital economy policy of the Federal Government.
The  theme of the meeting was “5G Technology: Opportunities and Challenges”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Ict/Telecom

‘Immigration’II Go Fully Digital Soon’

Published

on

A top Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Officer in Port Harcourt says the agency will go fully  digital soon in order to serve  the public better.
The officer, who spoke  on condition of anonymity in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the reason for the planned  switch  to electronic  system  of service is to ensure  that the agency  is not left out in the 21st century  mode of business  transaction.
The officer  noted that the Nigerian  Immigration  is on ground to promote  quick  service  delivery, hence, the decision  to go digital.
According  to him, some of the delay in their  services to the public is due to the semi analogue  system  still  practised  in the agency.
Not exonerating the service of any form of challenge,  he stated that the paramilitary  outfit would do better upon full digitization of the organisation.
On the recent complaint by members of the public about the delay  in the Passport Unit, he said such was misconstrued because the personnel at the unit are doing their best.
He expressed  regrets that some persons will only raise alarm when they did not receive  the special treatment  they requested, and not praise them subsequently when  treated as demanded.
“What they do not  know  is that,  we cannot  please every person the same time. Some of them will come  with a near difficult work and want you to perform  the magic  almost immediately”, he said.
The  officer did not  state  how soon the digital operations  will commence,  but said that it may not exceed this year.
“It has to pass through due process, that is why we may have some delay. But internally,  we are prepared  to take up the new challenge. I think  we are equal to the task”, he said.
The Tide gathered that the Service  in Port Harcourt, especially  the Passport Unit,  is on ground  and is gradually removing  all bottlenecks  associated with the job.

By: King Onunwor

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending