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 )
Lekki Shooting: ‘Sanwo-Olu Has Been Thrown Under The Bus By Military’ – Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has reacted to the Nigerian Army’s statement that the Lagos State Government invited the army to enforce a curfew on Tuesday the 20th of October in the State.
Recall that on Tuesday, the 81 Divison of the Nigerian army stated that it was invited to enforce the curfew in Lagos by the state government, although it denied shooting at #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, Lagos.
This came a day after Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated that the army shot at protesters in Lagos.
Reacting to the statement from the army, the former minister wrote:
“The @HQNigerianArmy claim it was the LASG that asked for soldiers to be deployed at Lekki. The implications of this for
@jidesanwoolu are grave. He has been thrown under the bus by the military.”
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) October 27, 2020
Social Media Will Destroy Us If We Don’t Regulate It: Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has expressed that there is a need to regulate social media usage in the country to avoid being led to destruction.
He made this known when he appeared before the House Committee on information, national orientation, ethics, and values to defend the 2021 budget proposed by his ministry, on Tuesday.
The Minister pointed out that it is highly important to regulate social media.
The minister said although the government is not seeking to shut down social media “because the social media has come to stay,” there is a need to check its excesses due to the rise in fake news and misinformation.
“The biggest challenge facing Nigeria today is fake news and misinformation,” he said.
“Based on that, we dedicated an entire national council on information’s meeting to that issue, after which we launched a national campaign against fake news in July 2018.
“We said, then, that the next war will be fought without a shot being fired, but with the use of fake news.
“We didn’t stop there. We went on a tour of all media houses to solicit their support in the fight against fake news. We launched the campaign to regulate social media, which was bitterly contested by the stakeholders. We kept saying that if we don’t regulate social media, it will destroy us. Social media and fake news will not destroy Nigeria.
“The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilised using the social media. The war today revolves around two things; smartphone and data. And these young men don’t even watch television or listen to radio or read newspapers.
“You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting social media. So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need technology to be able to regulate social media.”
2023: Buhari Reappoints Mahmood Yakubu As INEC Chairman
President Buhari confirmed the renomination of Prof. Yakubu for a second and final term in a letter to Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan on Tuesday.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday.
Professor Yakubu’s reappointment is, however, subject to approval by the Nigerian Senate.
“I am pleased to present for confirmation by the Senate, the nomination of Professor Mahmood Yakubu for appointment as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a second and final term,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in the letter.
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