The House of Representatives is considering a series of amendments to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, including setting a limit to the duration a person can act as chairman of the commission.
The House is also considering expanding the scope of qualifications for the chairmanship of the EFCC.
At the plenary on Tuesday, the House had consolidated four bills by different sponsors seeking to amend the EFCC Act.
In the bill sponsored by Mr Tajudeen Yusuf, apart from setting a time-frame for acting chairmanship, it is also being proposed that the EFCC retains a percentage of funds recovered its recoveries.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, Cap. E1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to Make Provisions for a Limit and Time-frame Within which a Person Appointed as the Acting Executive Chairman of the Commission can Occupy the Office in an Acting Capacity; Provide for the Commission to Retain a Percentage of the Loot Recovered to Fund its Operations.’
The Senate had twice rejected the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the EFCC in 2017, based on a damning report on him by the Department of State Services.
Magu had remained acting Chairman of EFCC until 2020 when he was suspended after a presidential probe into his activities.
In another bill sponsored by Mr Wale Raji, financial experts with proven integrity may also be eligible to be chairman of the anti-graft agency.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004 CAP. E1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to Expand the Scope of Persons Qualified as Chairman of the Commission and Other Matters Related Thereto.’
The bill is specifically seeking to amend Section 2(1) Paragraph (a)(ii) of the EFCC Act by deleting the entire paragraph and replacing it with a new one that reads, “…be a person of recognised financial experience with proved integrity in financial crimes control whether in the public or private sector and committed to the fight against corruption.”
Another bill sponsored by Mr Nicholas Ossai seeks to bar those prosecuted by EFCC and convicted by court from public office. It also seeks to expand the board of the EFCC to accommodate representatives of independent bodies.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Act, Cap. E1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for Restructuring the Composition of the Commission by Including Members of Independent Organisations in its Membership; Establishment of Operations Review Committee, Witness Protection Unit, Detention Unit; and Compensation of Victims of Financial Crimes and Disqualification of Convicted Persons from Holding or Continuing to hold Public Offices.’
In the last National Assembly, the House had proposed that the qualification for the chairmanship of the EFCC be raised from Commissioner of Police to Assistant Inspector-General of Police.