Creates Director General In New Bill

The federal government has weakened the powers granted the EFCC Chairman.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami is pushing to weaken the powers of the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with a new bill.

The bill is titled, ‘An Act to Repeal the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 (act no. 1 of 2004) and Enact the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act Which Establishes a More Effective and Efficient Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to Conduct Enquiries and Investigate All Economic and Financial Crimes and Related Offences and for other Related Matters.’

The bill is seeking to create a new position known as the director-general of the EFCC.

It was learnt that the bill was proposed weeks after the suspended acting EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu accused Malami of frustrating the president’s anti-corruption war.

The proposed law will require the director-general to be appointed by the president based on the recommendation of the AGF and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The director-general, and not the chairman, will be in charge of the running of the daily affairs of the commission. The chairman of the EFCC shall be the head of the EFCC board.

Section 8 of the bill reads in part, “There shall be for the commission, a director-general who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Attorney General subject to the confirmation by the Senate.

“Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the Director-General shall be a retired or serving member of any government institution, including any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of a director or its equivalent or a person from the private sector.

“A person shall not be appointed as a director-general unless he is of proven integrity and has 15 years cognate experience in security, forensic or financial crimes investigation; forensic accounting or auditing; or law practice or enforcement relating to economic and financial crimes or anti-corruption.”

The bill proposes a tenure of four years for the director-general, subject to reappointment for one more term of four years.

The new bill leaves out the office of secretary of the EFCC which is currently responsible for the administration of the secretariat and keeping of the books and records of the commission.

The proposed law not only restates the power of the AGF to discontinue the prosecution of criminal cases as guaranteed in Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution, it empowers the AGF to cancel the prosecutorial power of the EFCC when he sees fit. Section 45 of the new bill states that the AGF may, after notifying the EFCC, intervene in court proceedings, at first instance or on appeal, where, in the opinion of the AGF, public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process so demand.

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