Unexplained wealth should be confiscated to help curb illicit financial flow and other corrupt practices, argues the EFCC
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called for the adoption of the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), which mandates people to reveal the sources of their unexplained wealth.
According to the EFCC chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, establishing legislation against unexplained wealth will check fraud, corruption and other criminal activities in the country.
He urged this while speaking at a two-day international law conference with the theme: “Unexplained Wealth in the Global South: Examining the Asset Recovery and Return Trajectory” organised by Christopher University, in Mowe, Ogun State on Thursday, December 14, 2023.
The UWO is an order that compels individuals whose source of wealth is unclear to reveal to the authorities the source of their assets that appear disproportionate to the known lawful income they claim to have.
The UWO, which has been adopted by many western countries, gives law enforcement an opportunity to confiscate criminal assets, with enough time to investigate and act on corrupt assets, for example properties bought with the proceeds of crime.
The EFCC boss, who was represented by the Abuja zonal commander, Mr. Adebayo Adeniyi, said Nigeria’s treasury looters would have no hiding place if citizens with newfound wealth were forced by law to disclose the source of their income.
The adoption of the order, combined with the provisions of section 7 of its establishment act, the EFCC said will improve the agency’s ability to check the financial crimes in the country.
“In Nigeria today, unexplained wealth has become practical means of tracing, identifying, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases. As an anti-graft agency, suspects of any economic and financial crimes are usually required to declare their assets in the course of investigation. The basis for this is to properly establish their true asset base and their linkage or otherwise to any act of corruption. Owing to the absence of a legislation on the issue of unexplained wealth, the EFCC continues to rely on provisions of Section 7 of its Establishment Act to handle it,” he said.