SERAP alerts Buhari over plots against EFCC

September 20, 2020
9 Views

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to accept the proposed amendment to the act establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission being pushed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

In an open letter to Buhari on Sunday, SERAP said the proposed executive bill will severely undermine EFCC’s independence.

SERAP, in its letter signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said the bill which is apparently designed to undermine the independence, integrity and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies, ignores the seriousness of grand corruption and its impact on Nigerians’ human rights, the rule of law, principles of good governance, development, as well as the threat corruption poses to the country’s constitutional order.

“Under the proposed bill, the limited independence that the EFCC enjoys will be substantially undermined, as the commission will now effectively become a body of the executive government, thus creating heightened risk of political interference in the work of the commission.”

According to SERAP: “By pushing to turn the EFCC into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice, and effectively bring it under the control of the Attorney General; and to subject the appointment of the agency’s head to the approval of the Directorate of State Security, your government would seem to indicate that it is not interested in combating corruption and halting its putrefying effects.”

Should the proposed bill become law, SERAP promised to pursue legal action in the public interest, and to ensure that anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria can operate independently and effectively.”

“This bill is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

Recall that the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption headed by Professor Itse Sagay, had last week raised concerns that “the government is pushing a bill to amend the EFCC Act, 2004, which will demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria, and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”

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