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House of Representatives propose 20 years jail term for financial crime

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The House of Representatives has proposed a 20 years jail term for any person convicted of financial crimes in the country.

This was part of new ammendments to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004.

The Act currently prescribes a penalty of “not less than two years” for economic and financial crimes.

Lawmakers consider this to be “lenient” for the serious crime of stealing public money or other forms of financial crimes.

Four consolidated bills before the House are seeking to further empower the EFCC to fight crime, insulate the anti-graft agency from interference by the Presidency and enhance its financial autonomy.

One of the bills, which was sponsored by a member from Cross River State, Mr. Bassey Ewa, proposes to raise the two-year term for economic and financial crimes offenders to 20 years.

In the new bill, Section 18 of the Principal Act is amended to prescribe tougher punishments for economic and financial crimes.

The new subsection (C) reads: “All convicted persons shall serve an imprisonment of a term not less than 20 years and have their ill-gotten property, accounts or investment confiscated by the government.”

The new proposal also states that plea bargaining or returning the full amount stolen does not exclude the convict from penalty.

Subsection (d) adds, “Where the accused person, upon investigation, accepts to refund the total amount standing in his/her name and willing to plea bargain, he or she shall be convicted for not less than two years.”

Similarly, a company found guilty of economic or financial crimes, will be barred from doing business in Nigeria for 50 years.

This is captured under subsection (e), which states that, “Any company found guilty of offences under this Act, both its assets and finances shall be frozen and the company blacklisted from doing business in Nigeria for 50 years.”

Another key amendment seeks to remove the power of appointing the Chairman of the EFCC from the President and to be vested directly in the hands of Nigerians.

Under the extant provisions, the President appoints the chairman and forwards the name to the Senate for approval.

But in the new amendment, members of the public, through a petition to the National Assembly, are empowered to make the appointments.

For example, Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended to insert new subsections (4) and (5).

The proposed subsection 4 reads: “Petitions against the Chairman or any of the members of the EFCC emanating from the public or the private sector shall be submitted to the National Assembly.

“If upon investigation and found culpable, a simple majority vote of members of the National Assembly is required in considering the fate of the chairman or any of the affected member.”

Subsection (5) provides that the resolution, when passed, will be forwarded to the President, who shall within 30 days, either accept the resolution or reject it.

 The section empowers the National Assembly to override the President’s veto with a “two-thirds majority vote” of senators and members of the House of Representatives.

To make the EFCC financially autonomous, the House proposes in Section 35 of the Act that the commission should retain “0.1 per cent” of recovered looted funds.

It is also to retain “0.1 per cent” of its Internally-Generated Revenue.

Another “0.1 per cent” of contracts awarded by the Federal Government is to the credited to the account of the commission.

The PUNCH also obtained the details of amendments proposed to the Act by the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Kayode Oladele.

Oladele’s bill, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the EFCC Act, 2004 to Enhance Effectiveness of the Act, and for other Related Matters,” seeks to grant full autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.

When contacted, Ewa explained why he sought harsher punishment for economic thieves.

He said, “This provision of two years imprisonment, is mild and it should be raised to not less than 20 years. This will deter public servants from stealing money.

“If your are 40 years old and you know that you will be 60 years by the time you are out of jail, you will have some fear in you and think about your children.

“But to say two years is to encourage stealing the more because people say after all, it is only two years.”

The four bills passed second reading last week at a session presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

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Akeredolu: There’s A Serious Security Crisis In Ondo

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Akeredolu: There’s A Serious Security Crisis In Ondo

Governor Akeredolu

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has expressed that there is a serious security crisis in Ondo State.

He made this remark while lamenting the murder of a monarch in the state, Olufon of Ifon in Ose local government, Oba Isreal Adeusi, who was killed by suspected kidnappers.

In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, Akeredolu described the incident as a sad one for the State.

Also Read: Unknown Gunmen Kill Ondo Traditional Ruler, Olufon Of Ifon

The governor described the act as a heinous crime that is too heavy and unbearable.

He said he has directed security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police, to fish out the perpetrators of the crime.

Akeredolu also vowed to do all he can to unravel those behind the act and make them face the full wrath of the law.

He advised that caution should be exercised from making public reference in statements or utterances in respect of the “great loss.”

 

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Nigeria’s Economy May Emerge From Recession In 2021 Q1, Says Emefiele

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 Nigeria’s Economy May Emerge From Recession In 2021 Q1, Says Emefiele

CBN Governor – Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has predicted that the nation’s economy may emerge from recession in the first quarter of 2021.

Recall that some days ago, Nigeria entered into recession for the second time since 2016.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the prediction on Friday during the 55th annual Bankers Dinner which held in Lagos.

He expressed that the expected economic growth was two per cent.

Also Read: Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister

Emefiele said, “With the sustained implementation of our intervention measures, we do expect that the Nigerian economy could emerge from the recession by the first quarter of 2021.”

“We also expect that growth in 2021 would attain 2.0 per cent. However, downside risks remain, as restoration of full economic activities, particularly in service-related sectors, remains uncertain until a COVID vaccine is produced and made available to millions of people across the world.

“Second, with the significant rise in cases in advanced markets and the imposition of lockdowns in parts of Europe, concerns remain on the impact this could have on growth in advanced economies, commodity prices and the financial markets.”

He also called for measures to “insulate our economy from the impact of these shocks through our diversification efforts, while also working to ensure that we adhere to safety protocols in order to prevent a surge in COVID-19 related cases, as this could further cripple economic activities.

This prediction by the apex bank echoes the projection of the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who stated that Nigeria would exit recession in the first quarter of 2021.

 

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Shehu Sani Reacts To Hisbah’s Call For Scrapping Of Black Friday

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Shehu Sani Reacts To Hisbah's Call For Scrapping Of Black Friday

Shehu Sani

Former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has reacted to the call for the scrapping of the popular ‘Black Friday’sales by the Kano State Hisbah Board.

Recall that earlier on Friday, the board asked a radio station, demanding that it stops using the word “Black Friday” to refer to Friday.

Also Read: TECNO Stormed Computer Village with BBNaija’s OZO to Wrap up its Black Friday Sales Activities

The board explained that since Friday is regarded as a holy day in Islam, tagging it “Black Friday” is derogatory and a thus, should not be condoned.

Reacting to the statement, the former lawmaker from Kaduna described the threat by the Hisbah board as ‘nonsensical.”

He wrote:

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