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Reps, ex-lawmaker differ over planned review of EFCC Act

FOLLOWING the uproar that trailed the planned amendment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act to make provision for a retired justice of the Supreme Court or Appeal Court to head the agency, Chairman, House Committee on Media, Mohammad Zakari, has dismissed as “untrue” insinuations that the move was aimed at sacking the current EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri.

Specifically, the House had last week voted in favour for second reading, a bill that also includes a provision that would compel all petitioners to the Commission to file their petitions under oath as well as create a special investigative unit within the EFCC that would be headed by a retired Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police.

Waziri is a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police. The EFCC’s first chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, was appointed as an Assistant Commissioner of Police to head the anti-graft agency.

Zakari, who spoke in Abuja, explained that the on-going process of amendment was for the purpose of strengthening the EFCC and “give it a semblance of civility for effective and efficient delivery on its mandates.”

But National Vice Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Senator John Kennedy Waku, has urged the House of Representatives to suspend the move to amend the EFCC Act as regards who heads the agency.

According to Waku, “the move is ill-timed and may be misconstrued to mean that the House is merely acting to save the necks of some of its members who are currently facing corruption charges.”

He advised the House “to rather strengthen the EFCC by passing legislation that would promote the anti-graft war like legislation for special anti-corruption courts, asset forfeiture laws and Whistle Blower Protection Act.”

Waku, in a statement yesterday, also argued that, “even if the lawmakers have a genuine reason to amend the law, the timing is already suggestive of some ulterior motives.”

The ACF added: “It is public knowledge that the EFCC has of recent charged a significant number of serving and past members of the House to court over alleged involvement in corruption cases. These people are bitter and naturally will want to fight back. The only logical thing is to mobilise their colleagues on the floor of the House to engage the EFCC leadership or whittle down its powers.”

However, Zakari noted that the EFCC had performed well since inception but lamented the Commission’s modus operandi had raised questions on the professionalism of its hierarchy.

His words: “The EFCC since inception has done well. However, one must be quick to point out that sometimes their modus operandi is very poor. The way they carry out their responsibilities, we believe, smacks of the mentality of the Nigeria Police.

“No suspect, according to our laws, is deemed guilty until proven otherwise and if investigation is based on trumped-up charges or anonymous petitions, we will not be doing justice to the people. People are being arrested and their rights abused. We can’t continue like that.”


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Posted by on Oct 30 2011. Filed under EFCC Politics, House, Legislature. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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