The Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 recently came into effect, replacing the existing Proceeds of Crime Regulation 2012. The regulations set out procedures for all law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies – which are supervised by the Attorney General's Office – to ensure the effective coordination of the investigation of illegally acquired assets and the proceeds of crime, among other things.
The High Court of England and Wales recently granted claimants in an arbitration leave to enforce an award against the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum Resources. The media attention surrounding the decision prompted the Nigerian government to respond in a manner that has been described as unusual. One thing is clear: allegations of involvement in fraudulent conduct in matters relating to government contracts in Nigeria should not be unexpected.
Throughout August 2019 the Nigerian media heavily reported on the US government's actions against Nigerian nationals who have been accused of committing various acts of fraud. Of particular note is the arrest of a successful Nigerian entrepreneur and the US Department of Justice's recent federal grand jury indictment against 77 named and three unnamed individuals reported to be Nigerians.
During Federal Attorney General Abubakar Malami's recent confirmation appearance before the Senate he was asked why the administration had failed to comply with court orders and responded that they were not in the public interest. Although heavily criticised, Malami's statements are unsurprising, given how he used Executive Order 6 in his first term to indiscriminately prevent persons not accused of wrongdoing from accessing bank accounts without recourse to the courts.
After years of inaction and many questions as to why the Nigerian authorities have done nothing to pursue Nigerian wrongdoers in a 21-year corruption case involving oil giant Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited and Italian company ENI SpA, it appears that the Nigerian authorities have finally decided to pursue criminal proceedings against Nigerian parties. In April 2019 the Abuja High Court issued orders for the arrest of former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete Etete and Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke.