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Rep Seeks 20-year Jail Term for Financial Crimes

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House of representatives
  • Rep Seeks 20-year Jail Term for Financial Crimes

The House of Representatives wants persons convicted of economic and financial crimes to be jailed for 20 years.

This is part of the details of the new amendments to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004, which was obtained on Sunday.

The Act currently prescribes a penalty of “not less than two years” for economic and financial crimes.

Lawmakers consider this to be “lenient” for the serious crime of stealing public money or other forms of financial crimes.

Four consolidated bills before the House are seeking to further empower the EFCC to fight crime, insulate the anti-graft agency from interference by the Presidency and enhance its financial autonomy.

One of the bills, which was sponsored by a member from Cross River State, Mr. Bassey Ewa, proposes to raise the two-year term for economic and financial crimes offenders to 20 years.

In the new bill, Section 18 of the Principal Act is amended to prescribe tougher punishments for economic and financial crimes.

The new subsection (C) reads: “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 by the government.”

The new proposal also states that plea bargaining or returning the full amount stolen does not exclude the convict from penalty.

Subsection (d) adds, “Where the accused person, upon investigation, accepts to refund the total amount standing in his/her name and willing to plea bargain, he or she shall be convicted for not less than two years.”

Similarly, a company found guilty of economic or financial crimes, will be barred from doing business in Nigeria for 50 years.

This is captured under subsection (e), which states that, “Any company found guilty of offences under this Act, both its assets and finances shall be frozen and the company blacklisted from doing business in Nigeria for 50 years.”

Another key amendment seeks to remove the power of appointing the Chairman of the EFCC from the President and to be vested directly in the hands of Nigerians.

Under the extant provisions, the President appoints the chairman and forwards the name to the Senate for approval.

But in the new amendment, members of the public, through a petition to the National Assembly, are empowered to make the appointments.

For example, Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended to insert new subsections (4) and (5).

The proposed subsection 4 reads: “Petitions against the Chairman or any of the members of the EFCC emanating from the public or the private sector shall be submitted to the National Assembly.

“If upon investigation and found culpable, a simple majority vote of members of the National Assembly is required in considering the fate of the chairman or any of the affected member.”

Subsection (5) provides that the resolution, when passed, will be forwarded to the President, who shall within 30 days, either accept the resolution or reject it.

The section empowers the National Assembly to override the President’s veto with a “two-thirds majority vote” of senators and members of the House of Representatives.

To make the EFCC financially autonomous, the House proposes in Section 35 of the Act that the commission should retain “0.1 per cent” of recovered looted funds.

It is also to retain “0.1 per cent” of its Internally-Generated Revenue.

Another “0.1 per cent” of contracts awarded by the Federal Government is to the credited to the account of the commission.

Also we obtained the details of amendments proposed to the Act by the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Kayode Oladele.

Oladele’s bill, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the EFCC Act, 2004 to Enhance Effectiveness of the Act, and for other Related Matters,” seeks to grant full autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.

When contacted, Ewa explained why he sought harsher punishment for economic thieves.

He said, “This provision of two years imprisonment, is mild and it should be raised to not less than 20 years. This will deter public servants from stealing money.

“If your are 40 years old and you know that you will be 60 years by the time you are out of jail, you will have some fear in you and think about your children.

“But to say two years is to encourage stealing the more because people say after all, it is only two years.”

The four bills passed second reading last week at a session presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Obaseki Wins Edo State With a Landslide Victory

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Governor Godwin Obaseki has now won the remaining Local Government, Ovia South-West Local Government.

Here is a break down of Ovia South-West’s final result. APC recorded 10, 636 votes while PDP amassed 12, 659.

Total valid votes stood at 23,741 with 743 votes rejected and 24,484 votes cast.

Overall, Obaseki won a total of 13 local governments out of 18, while Ize-Iyamu wins 5. See the details below.

Local Government APC  PDP 
Igueben  5,199  7,870 
Esan North-East  6,556  13,579 
Esan Central  6,719  10,794 
Ikpoba-Okha  18,218  41,030 
Uhunmwonde  5,972  10,022 
Egor  10,202  27,621 
Owan East  19,295  14,762 
Owan West  11,193  11,485 
Esan South East  9,237  10,565 
Ovia North-West  9,907  16,987 
Etsako West  26,140  17,959 
Ovia South-West 10,636 12,659
Oredo  18,365  43,498 
Esan West  7,189  17,434 
 Akoko Edo 22,963 20,101
 Etsako East 17,011 10,668
 Etsako Central  8,359 7,478
Orhionmwon 10,458 13,445

 

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Government

Obaseki Beats Ize-Iyamu in His Local Government to Extend Lead

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Godwin Obaseki Wins Ize-Iyamu Local Government to Extend Lead

Governor Godwin Obaseki has won Orhionmwon Local Government Area to extend his lead over Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who hails from Orhionmwon, won his polling unit but failed to win the entire council area as Obaseki wins again.

Orhionmwon was one of the two remaining local governments. Therefore, it now remains one local government area, Ovia South-West, with Obaseki cruising to victory following 17 LG counts.

Obaseki now has 295,296 votes while Ize-Iyamu has 212,983.

Obaseki is no expected to win Saturday’s governorship election after amassing massive votes across each of the 17 local governments counted.

The remaining local government, Ovia South-West has 73,909 voters, below the over 80,000 lead of Godwin Obaseki.

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Government

Obaseki, PDP Members Celebrate Potential Win in Situation Room

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Obaseki

Obaseki Celebrates With Other PDP Members in Situation Room

Following the strong positive support received from Edo people as shown by almost 90,000 vote gap received over Osagie Ize-Iyamu after 16 local government counts, the executive governor of Edo State, Gowin Obaseki, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members have started celebrating a potential win ahead of the two remaining local government results.

According to the results of the 16 local governments released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Obaseki received 288,572 votes while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, received 202,525 votes.

With just two local governments left to go, it is safe to say Obaseki has won this particular election again.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu contested against Governor Obaseki four years ago under the Peoples Democratic Party when Obaseki was the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress before he fell out with his godfather, Adams Oshiomhole.

If wins, Obaseki will be the first gubernatorial candidate to win two elections under the two major parties within four years and vice versa for Ize-Iyamu.

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