BEVERLY HILLS, March 15, (THEWILL) – Coming same day that the Senate refused to confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the House of Representatives moved to remove the power to appoint EFCC Chairman from the President.
The House moved on Wednesday to strengthen the commission to fight corruption by proposing fresh amendments to the EFCC Act, 2004, which seeks to insulate the anti-graft agency from the influence of the Presidency, enhance its financial autonomy, prescribe tougher penalties for stealing public funds and create a special court for speedy trial of cases.
These were contained in four consolidated bills which seek to further empower the commission. The bills passed second reading at a session presided over by the Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja.
The bills were co-sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Kayode Oladele; Mr. Bassey Ewa; Mr. Oladipupo Olatunde; and Mr. Bede Ucehenna-Eke.
One of the key amendments seeks to remove the power of appointing the chairman of the EFCC from the President, hoping to vest it directly in the hands of Nigerians.
What presently obtains is that the President appoints the chairman and forwards the name to the Senate for approval as is the case with Magu, whose nomination was turned down the second time on Wednesday by the upper legislative chamber.
But going by the new proposal, which the House described as “more stringent” in appointing or removing the chairman, members of the public are to appoint the commission’s chairman.
Leading the debate on the proposal, Ewa explained, “This amendment will open up the EFCC so that the President will not be the sole person to either remove or appoint the chairman.
“In this new proposal, it will require a petition from the public to the National Assembly for a resolution.
“This resolution, when passed, will be forwarded to the President. Mr. President shall within one month, either accept the resolution or reject it.
“The National Assembly reserves the power to override his veto of the resolution,” he stated.
Ewa explained that this was to guard against the current practice whereby the President would want the chairman removed whenever he was not comfortable with the officer.