A former Senator from Anambra South, Ikechukwu Obiorah, has suggested that a sitting President of Nigeria should no longer have the power to appoint the Heads of the anti-graft Agencies in the country, which include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB,
He said this on Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’, arguing that this will guarantee the full independence of the Agencies in the dispensation of their duties.
Obiorah further suggested that the Heads should be made ex-officio, with nominations from professional bodies and unions, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, etc.
He noted that the Commissions or Boards should have the power to appoint or remove the Heads by a two-third majority vote.
Obiorah also called for a Constitutional amendment, to transform the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, into the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, and granted the prosecutorial powers held by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF.
The Membership, according to him, could be Lawyers nominated ex-officio by the NBA, Law Professors nominated by ASUU, and International Lawyers nominated by the United Nations, UN, and Transparency International, TI.
Obiorah equally suggested that the Financial Books on government spending be made easily accessible to the public without formal applications, as in the case of the Freedom of Information, FoI, Act.
His words: “The EFCC Act should be further amended to make it mandatory that all government expenditures – salaries, allowances, overhead, recurrent, capital, debt servicing – by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, are published on their websites.”
On the Whistleblower Policy, he said that it would achieve more with a legislation protecting anonymous information volunteering, identified informers, collections of rewards, and allowing sanctions against those who victimise Whistleblowers.
On the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, Obiorah stressed the need to hire more Judges, and train and designate some of them for corruption cases, to ensure speedy trials.
He further suggested that the Public Procurement Act be amended, to simplify the process, remove loopholes, stop rigging of bids, and reduce the size of the National Council on Public Procurement and Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP.
He added: “The non-remittance of operating Surplus by Ministries, Departments and Agencies should be criminalised.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended to provide that non-remittance of the prescribed operating surplus is a crime.
“The Chief Accounting Officers and the Directors of Finance of MDAs should be charged with the responsibility of remitting operating surplus.”
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