According to reports, the House of Representatives is working on the amendment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act to prescribe 20-year jail term for any politically exposed person (PEP) and those working in the private sector convicted of economic and financial crimes.
The amendment bill to the EFCC Act, 2004 sponsored by Hon. Bassey Ewa (PDP Cross Rivers), is also seeking the creation of special economic and financial courts.
The bill also seeks to “provide for quick recovery procedures for stolen assets; implement active pursuit of cases, build capacity and improve trust and cooperation with foreign counterparts, as well as ensure adequate funding of the commission.”
The bill defines corruption offences to include: “the bribery of national public officials, bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations; embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion of property by a public official; trading in influence; abuse of functions; illicit enrichment; bribery in the private sector; embezzlement of property in the private sector and laundering of proceeds of crime.”
According to the proposed amendment to section 18 of the EFCC principal Act, “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 to the government.” It, however, provided for plea-bargaining for any accused persons who accept to refund the total amount standing in his/her name, who shall be convicted for not more than two years.
The bill also proposed that any company found guilty of contravening the Act, shall be banned from transacting business activities in Nigeria and have its assets and finances frozen.
In the proposed amendment, Section 3 (4) provides that “any petitions against EFCC chairman or any of the member of staff from the public or private sector shall be submitted to the National Assembly, if upon investigation found culpable, a simple majority vote of members of National Assembly is required in considering the fate of the chairman or any affected member.”
Similarly, Section 3 (5) of the bill, gives the National Assembly the power to forward such recommendations to the Presidency for implementation, “but if the President objects to the removal of the chairman or any affected members of the commission, he shall communicate in writing to the National Assembly, advancing reasons against the removal of the chairman or any affected member within 30 days.
“However, a two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly shall be required to veto the decision of the President for the affected member to be removed,” the bill stated.