President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed three bills into law. They included the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, 2019, Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019 and National Biosafety Management Agency (`Amendment) Act, 2019.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said that the three bills were passed by the 8th National Assembly.
He said that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) (No. 2) Act further amends the 2010 Act by increasing the powers of the Commission in enforcement of recovery of debt from persons owing legacy banks or seizure of property subject of loan obligation.
“In particular, it empowers AMCON to:1. place any bank account or any other account comparable to a bank account of a debtor of an eligible financial institution under surveillance,
“2. obtain access to any computer system component, electronic or mechanical device of any debtor with a view to establishing the location of funds belonging to the debtor, and
“3. obtain information in respect of any private account together with all bank financial and commercial records of any debtor of any eligible financial institution, banking secrecy, and the protection of customer confidentiality is not a ground for the denial of the power of the Corporation under this section.’’
The new law, he said, makes it mandatory for AMCON to, despite the convention of confidentiality of banking, business and contracting relations to:‘’…furnish the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a list of recalcitrant debtors and then impose an obligation to seek clearance on the Federal Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies when the Federal Government, any Ministry, Department or Agency proposes to contract with, or pay, debtors on the list furnished by the Corporation.’’
“It further provides that: (1) all money standing to the credits of the Corporation in any bank account is deemed to be in the custody and control of the Corporation.
“(2) where any proceeding is pending in any court of competent jurisdiction by or any the Corporation, the grant of any interim, interlocutory or preservative order of attachment against the Corporation’s funds in any bank is prohibited.’’
“(3) the Corporation may require any eligible financial institution from which it has acquired an eligible bank asset or any director, manager or officer of such eligible financial institution to furnish information and produce documents, books, accounts and records in relation to any eligible bank asset acquired by the Corporation from such eligible financial institution or in relation to the borrower or other obligator connected with such eligible bank asset.
The Act, he said, also stated that upon dissolution of the Corporation: “(a) all unresolved eligible bank assets then held by the Corporation shall be transferred by the liquidator or joint liquidator to such government agency, or for valuable consideration, to a third party asset management company or other entity specified by the Central Bank of Nigeria;
“(b) all then existing staff shall be re-deployed to and absorbed into the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation.”
He said the Act provided for ‘’a part-time Chairman who shall be a Deputy Governor in the Central Bank of Nigeria to be nominated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.’’
On the second Act, Defence Intelligence Agency Civilian Pensions Board (Establishment) Act, 2019, he said the Act establishes an Agency charged with the responsibility for administering pension scheme for civilian personnel of the Agency.
He said it covers pension on voluntary retirement and benefit if death occurs in course of duty as well as pension if in normal course of retirement.
For the third Act, National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019, he said that it amended the National Biosafety Management Agency Act No. 20, 2015 to enlarge the scope of application of the act by including the emerging aspects of modern biotechnology and biosecurity in Nigeria with a view to preventing any adverse effect to human health and environment.
The Amendment, he said, empowers the Agency to put in place measures to ensure Bio-Security.
He noted that the three Acts have come into effect as laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria