The House of Representatives at its plenary on Wednesday 15th March 2017 passed for second reading a Bill seeking to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, Cap. E1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for Quick Recovery Procedures for Stolen Assets. The legislative consolidated Bill was sponsored by Hon. Bede Unchenna Eke and six others. While debating the general principles of the legislation, Hon. Eke stated that the Bill attempted to take a holistic view at the EFCC Act and to amend certain sections in order to enhance the effectiveness of the Act.
He said the amendment seeks to make provisions for an efficient implementation of pursuit of cases as well as build capacity and improve trust and synergy with foreign counterparts. He added that it is part of the intentions of the proposed amendment to create a special economic and financial crimes court. He noted that it would expedite prosecution and possible conviction of offenders without unnecessary delays or manipulations.
The Federal lawmaker also averred that the Bill when passed into law would statutorily guaranty adequate funding of the Commission which will further make the anti-graft agency more independent and effective in its mandate of enforcement of Economic and Financial Crimes. He implored that the amendment be given speedy passage as it would by and large avail the institution with firm legal framework for the commission to continue on a more active capacity to prosecute the war against financial crimes and corruption in general.
In another development, the House passed a resolution on a motion calling on the Federal Government to expedite action on the re-constitution of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) Membership, and consequently mandated the Committee on Capital Market & Institutions to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance and other relevant MDAs with a view to working out short term solutions that would enable the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) function before the re-constitution of its Membership.
The resolution came on the heel of a motion moved by Hon. Yusuf Tajudeen who submitted that following the dissolution of Boards of Ministries, Departments and Agencies by the Federal Government on 16th July 2015 through a circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Investment and Securities Tribunal has not been able to sit to adjudicate on issues that bother on the Capital Market.
He urged the Federal Government to realize the strategic importance of the tribunal to the national economy, and therefore see the need for reconstitution of its membership as well as reiterate its status as a Civil Court, and not a board.