House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill seeking for an amendment to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Act 2004 in order to restructure the commission to effectively discharge its mandate of arresting and prosecuting corrupt public office holders in Nigeria.
The bill is titled: “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, Cap.E1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to Provide for among others, the Restructuring of the Commission; and for Other Matters Related Thereto”.
If passed into law, the bill will allow some selected professional organisations like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN nominate their members to the board of the anti-corruption agency.
Leading the debate on the floor of the House, sponsor of the bill, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (Delta, PDP) said the bill is meant to add value to its operations.
He explained that the amendment being proposed to the EFCC Act is predicated on Section 8 of the Act which allows the commission to address all issues of corruption in accordance with the dictates of Nigerian laws.
The lawmaker was of the opinion that a nation is changed by a generation of people that desired change, adding that such changes are needed in all levels of governments and agencies, including the EFCC.
“The EFCC has been criticised on the way and manner it has carried out its mandate. The administration of justice and prosecution of offenders has not been hitch-free”, Ossai stated.
He argued that no civilised society would condone a situation in which a person who had no work or identifiable means of livelihood builds mansions and skyscrapers due largely to corrupt enrichment.
While calling on his colleagues to support the proposed amendment, Ossai hinted that the conviction of persons who committed offences relating to finances received attention in the new Act.
Speaking in support, Hon Zakari Mohammed (Kwara,APC) said the proposed amendment to the EFCC Act would strengthen the agency.
He identified un-professionalism of police as the problem EFCC and other similar security agencies had been facing.
House Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), however, rejected the idea of creating committee to review the operations of the agency, saying it was the height of redundancy.
He also faulted the bill on its promotion of lesser charges for financial crimes committed, asserting that it was inimical to the fight against corruption just like plea bargaining.
Meanwhile, the House has mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to ensure that commercial banks and other deposit money banks, DMBs reverse cost of transfer, COT charged on its individual and corporate customers.
The resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on the matter by Hon Edward Pajwork (Plateau, PDP) on the floor of the House.
The lawmaker informed the House that Nigerians were being short-changed due to sharp practices by these banks due to COT charges.

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