Oversight: Sagay Accuses Senators of Extorting MDAs

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Itse Sagay

*Calls for confirmation of Magu as EFCC chair

*No letter on Magu’s confirmation yet from executive, says Lawan

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACA), Prof Itse Sagay, has accused Senators of extorting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the course of carrying out oversights.

Sagay, who made the allegation Thursday while on a courtesy visit to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated that he had received a lot of complaints about the activities of Senators while oversighting the MDAs.

His words: “Will wish to bring before the Senate, some of the criticisms of the public in the area of oversight. There is this constant complaint that members of committees demand some form of gratification before they would visit a place or write anything favourable about the MDA”.
He, therefore, called on the Senate leadership to look into it “and ensure that the oversight work of the Senate does not involve anything that will be described as extortion”.

On the controversial Constituency projects of federal lawmakers, he pleaded also with the Senate President to look into the matter “and ensure that it is something of benefit to the constituents and constituencies of this country and not a subject of controversy anymore”.
He further called on the Senate to pass certain anti-corruption bills for the establishment of Special Criminal Court, and other similar bills which will help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight is successfully done with speed and energy.

Sagay also canvassed for the speedy confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu “who has done magnificent work so far in the years of being in that position and who will be a good companion to the legislature in achieving the aims of anti-corruption in this country.”

Responding, Senate President, claimed he was not aware of any complaint about Senators extorting MDAs while carrying out oversights.
His words: “As for oversight, as far as I know, I am not in receipt of any complaint and I have been in this national assembly for 21 years. But Mr Chairman if any committee asks for anything from any MDA that is not appropriate,the law is there to take its full course.

We believe that no committee or member of the national assembly will go out of his way to ask for anything before undertaking an oversight.
We will hold those charged with public funds for implementation accountable”.

On passage of anti-corruption bills, he assured the visitor of the preparedness of the Senate to work on such Bills brought before it saying “this is a new Senate and going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Representatives too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.

“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning. We are ready, infact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working for them.

Speaking on the request for the confirmation of Acting chairman of EFCC, Lawan stressed that there is no such request before the Red Chamber.
According to him, “this is a new Senate and therefore, until there is a request to the Senate, there is nothing the senate can do.

“And i want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation and the Senate will act expditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately”.