By Adedayo Akinwale
A Bill seeking to amend the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act 2004 to among other things address the existing lacuna in the Act by making provision for a limit and time frame within which a person appointed as the chairman of the commission can occupy the position in acting capacity has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
The Bill, which is sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, Hon. Wale Raji and Hon. Kabiru Tukur, also provides for the commission to retain a 0.005 per cent of the loot recovered to fund its operations for more efficiency and effectiveness.
Contributing, Hon. Yusuf said the amendment of the EFCC Act, referred to as “The Principal Act” seeks to amend Section 2 of the Act.
He said: “Section 2 of the Principal Act provided that the acting chairman shall only occupy the position for a period not exceeding six months after which his appointment will lapse if he is not confirmed by the Senate.”
He added that Section 35 of the Principal Act provides that 0.05% 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.
Yusuf argued that funds shall not be credited to the commission without authorisation by the National Assembly through the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.
In his submission, Hon. Raji said the Bill also seeks to expand the scope of persons qualified as chairman of the commission.
He argued that the amendment was informed by the unique activities carried out by the commission, and its inability to fully achieve its mandate since inception.
Raji explained that the essence of the amendment is primarily to accommodate and give legal backing to other professionals both in the public and private sector, who are qualified for 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.
He added that the proposed amendment states that the chairman shall: “be a person of recognised financial experience with proven integrity in financial crimes control whether in the public or private sector and committed to the fight against corruption”.
Raji submitted that the proposed amendment is tailored towards selecting the best qualified hand with all the requisite experience to manage and carry out the aims and objectives of the commission.
He further said that the crux of the 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.
Raji noted that the current provision neglects able and qualified persons with recognised financial experience in crime control, who are in the private sector.