EFCC, others urge president to ignore new anti-graft bill

Posted by FN Editor | 5 years ago | 1,472 times

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as well as other anti-graft agencies, have kicked against a new anti-corruption bill; Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2019, awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.

They have urged the president not to sign the new bill as his assent would take the steam out of the the ongoing fight against corruption.

The new bill, passed by the National Assembly, recently, seeks to establish a new agency known as Proceeds of Crime Management Agency (POCMA), that will, among other things, exercise exclusive powers on matters relating to civil forfeiture.

On May 21, Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, in a memo, asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (retd), among others, to make input into the bill before it is signed into law by president Buhari.

Sources at the EFCC, and elsewhere, told Daily Sun that they are concerned about the new bill because of some provisions that take their powers to the new outfit.

Another EFCC source accused those he called Fifth Columnists of being bent on making nonsense of the gains so far achieved in the war on corruption and also, pleaded for anonymity explained that the grounds of opposition to the new bill by anti-corruption agencies, especially EFCC, was because the proposed bill is meant stifle its operations.
He cited some sections of the new bill to buttress his position.

He disclosed that Parts 1,11,111 of the bill restricts the powers relating to civil forfeiture to the proposed agency, POCMA and described the the proposal as unreasonable and unjustifiable.

Further flaying some provisions of the new bill, the EFCC source pointed out that section 157 renders null and void any provisions of the Act of some agencies, including EFCC, that are at variance with that of the proposed organisation.
“This section 157 elevates itself above all other relevant laws, including our Act, that of ICPC, Police, NDLEA, NAPTIP. It is as bad as that,” he noted.

Aside section 157, the source lamented that section 162, if allowed to exist, will erode a number of critical provisions of legislations of corruption agencies and stressed that the provisions that are facing threat of extinction are responsible for the achievements so far made by EFCC and other corruption agencies in assets tracing, recovery and prosecution of offenders.

He said: “In the United Kingdom and South Africa, an agency of similar nature was established.
“Today, it is either not in existence again or has been reduced significantly. resident Buhari wants the war on corruption fought on all sides, some people don’t want that to happen.
“That is why they are seeking to reduce the powers of EFCC.”

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