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Senate passes new EFCC Act

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/03/16 | Views: 1901 |

Senate passes new EFCC Act


The Senate yesterday passed the newly amended Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, which prevents President Olusegun Obasanjo from unilaterally sacking any member of the commission, including its chairman without recourse to the National Assembly.

The Senate yesterday passed the newly amended Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, which prevents President Olusegun Obasanjo from unilaterally sacking any member of the commission, including its chairman without recourse to the National Assembly.

Similarly the new law also stipulates that EFCC must obtain a court order before confiscating the properties or freezing the accounts of suspects.

Prominent among the amendments proposed and adopted by the Senate were amendments to sections 3(2) and 43 respectively.

The new section 3(2) now says "the Chairman or any member of the commission, may only be removed by the President acting on the address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate for inability to discharge the functions of the office or for misconduct," while section 43 which had given powers to the Attorney-General of the Federation to make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise to any of the duties, functions or powers of the commission, now reads "without prejudice to the provision of section 174 of the constitution in the exercise of its functions, the commission shall not be subjected to direction or control of any authority or persons".

Furthermore, the amended Act also provided for the inclusion of six eminent Nigerians from the six geo-political zones with cognate experience in banking, finance, law or accounting, including representatives from the Nigerian Bar Association, the Civil Society Organization and labour as members of the board of the commission.

For the offence bordering on acts of terrorism, the life imprisonment penalty has now been reduced to a maximum of seven years imprisonment on conviction.

Attempts by some senators to ensure that serving police officers like Nuhu Ribadu do not have the opportunity of sitting at the helm of affairs of the commission, however, met a brickwall, as majority of the senators rose in defence of Ribadu, saying that he has so far performed creditably.

Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu for instance said: "we have the ICPC where the law says the chairman should be a non-serving judicial officer. But EFCC has been more effective than the ICPC. Retired people will see the position as opportunity to be more corrupt to get what they missed while in office.

"But a serving officer will fear for his career, like this Ribadu now. We should fish out such serving people like Ribadu to give them opportunity to serve. Physically, retired people are tired, they have reached an age which makes them very ineffective."
Other senators that queued behind Mantu are: Abubakar Sodangi, Victor Oyofo, and Saidu Dansadau, with Dansadau saying that "we are even trying to change the ICPC law to make the chairman a serving person."

While all the amendments proposed by the ad hoc committee that worked on the Act were the ones adopted by the Senate, the amendment that now mandates the EFCC to obtain a court order before freezing the account of or confiscate a suspectís property was proposed by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Jonathan Zwingina and it was adopted.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown