The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed for the second reading a bill that proposed 20 years jail term for corrupt public officials.
The consolidated bill which was sponsored by Honourables Bede Uchenna Eke, Bassey Ewa, Oladipupo Adebutu and Kayode Oladele which also sought to give Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) more power to function, and as well to establish financial crimes court to adjudicate on financial crimes cases, Tribune reports,
Hon. Ewa while leading debate on the bill said that, the bill is also seeking to ” establish an asset confiscation and recovery unit and “a financial Investigation and Intelligence Unit” for the commission.
Speaking further, he said that, “The EFCC Act is further amended to establish an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Court to handle all cases emanating from investigations carried out by the EFCC bothering on financial crimes. The court so established shall have divisions in the six geo-political zones of the country”.
On the composition of the court, he said, “The EFCC court shall consist of judge, a retired permanent secretary, with cognate experience of not less 15 years on financial and procurement matters, a forensic financial expert with cognate experience not less than 17 years and the court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court or tribunal on economic and financial crimes matters”.
He further stressed that “the court shall within 180 days dispense with any matter that is properly brought before it as appeals emanating from it shall only lie to the Court of Appeal and the court of Appeal shall within 90 days dispense with any matter brought before it from the judgment of EFCC Court.
Hon. Ossai in his contribution said that there was need to amend the constitution before a special court can be establish to tackle cases of financial crimes.
The chairman House committee on Financial Crimes, Hon. Kayode Oladele, in his contribution said that “there is an existing bill that deals with special courts for corrupt people that needed to be further consolidated with this one, saying, that, “there is need for us to bring all the special crimes such as cybercrime, terrorism, financial crimes together into one so that the special court can be fully operational”.
The bill scaled through second reading when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and subsequently referred the bill to House committee on Financial Crimes.