Reps propose 0.05per cent of recovered loots for EFCC, six months limit for acting Chairman

•Appointment of persons with financial expertise as EFCC Chairman

The bill which seeks to make provisions for six months timeframe within which a person is appointed as the acting Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can occupy the office in an acting capacity, on Wednesday, scaled through Second Reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The bill was sponsored by the former Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market and Other Institutions, Hon Tajudeen Yusuf, who also seeks to provide for the commission to retain a percentage of the loot recovered to fund their operations, and for other connected purposes.

It seeks to amend Section 2(3) of the EFCC Principal Act by inserting the following new proviso immediately after the existing subsection as follows: “Provided that the Acting Chairman shall only occupy the position of acting Chairman for a period not exceeding six months after which his appointment will lapse if he is not confirmed by the Senate.”

He also proposed amendment to Section 35 of the EFCC Principal Act by inserting the following new provisos immediately after the existing subsection (2) as follows: “Provided that 0.05per cent of the sums of money and value of assets recovered from looted funds and proceeds of crime is credited to the funds of the Commission to enable it to be more effective in the discharge of its responsibilities.

“Provided further that such funds shall not be credited to the Commission without authorization by the National Assembly through the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives,” he noted.

In the same vein, the House passed through Second Reading a bill that seeks to expand the scope of persons qualified as EFCC chairman and other matters related thereto.

Chairman, House Committee on House Services, Hon Wale Raji who sponsored the bill, called for the amendment of the EFCC Act, 2004 Cap. E1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, with a view to give priority to persons with recognized financial experience with proved integrity in financial crimes control and passion to fight corruption.

According to him, the bill seeks to amend Section 2(1a)(ii) of the Principal Act, 2004 by deleting the entire paragraph and replacing same with a new paragraph as follows: “be a person of recognized financial experience with proved integrity in financial crimes control whether in the public or private sector and committed to the fight against corruption.”

Hon Raji explained that the proposed amendment was primarily to accommodate and give legal backing to other professionals both in the public and private sector, who are qualified an opportunity to pilot the chief anti-corruption agency of the country not necessarily being a member of the Nigerian Police Force or any other security outfit.

“The proposed amendment states that the Chairman shall: be a person of recognized financial experience with proved integrity in financial crimes control whether in the public or private sector and committed to the fight against corruption.

“It should be noted that the proposed amendment is tailored towards selecting the best hand qualified with all the requisite experience to manage and carry out the aims and objectives of the commission.

“The crux of this amendment is to remove the statutory limitation in the appointment of the Chairman of the commission, which is presently limited to persons within the security architecture of the country.

“This is a current provision neglects able and qualified persons with recognized financial experience in crimes control, who are in the private sector.

“In addition, history teaches us that all the past Chairmen of the commission have been appointed from a particular security outfit of the country, which has repeatedly failed to achieve the aims and objectives of the commission.

“Furthermore, with the invent of several cyber-crimes and other corrupt practices currently ravaging the security architecture of the country, it is hereby canvassed that we do things differently in order to catch up with the trends of development. I propose that this amendment is one of the ways to combating this menace.

“By this amendment, other qualified persons whether in the public and private sector, who are well equipped with experience in financial crimes control and committed to the fight against corruption, stands a chance of been appointed Chairman of the commission. For instance, the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa, as the commission Chairman by the President Muhammadu Buhari was a paradigm shift from what used to be the case and it is a welcome development in view of this amendment.

“For completeness of argument, I humbly submit that amending the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, thereby expanding the scope of persons qualified to be appointed Chairman is one of the many ways in which the aims and objectives of the commission will be actualized.”

While ruling, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the session referred the bills to the House Committee on Financial Crimes for further legislative action.

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