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PLOT TO SCRAP ICPC SUFFERS SETBACK

By NBF News
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Senate has shot down a plot to scrap the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and create a single anti-corruption agency by amending the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Chairman of the Rules and Business Committee, Senator Ita Enang sought the permission of the chamber to repeal the ICPC Act and create a single agency 'or institution to handle, in a coordinated manner, all corruption, financial crimes and other crimes of the genres.

'It is to create a one-stop agency or institution to handle in a coordinated manner, all corruption, financial crimes and other crimes of the genres, to give focus and direction and public confidence to the fight against corruption by whatever name its called.'

Signs that the proposed move would not scale through, started when Senator Anthony Adeniyi (ACN, Ekiti) drew the attention of the Senate to the anomaly in the bill brought before the chamber for consideration.

Adeniyi noted that the First Reading of A Bill for an Act to amend the EFCC Act was that of 2004, while the version brought for consideration read 2007. He urged the chamber to discontinue work on the new version.

Enang stood his ground that there were no two versions but the same 2004 Act that was updated in 2007.

'It's not only the EFCC Act that has been updated. Without prejudice, the Laws of the Federation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was authorised to be updated from time to time. Other Acts (of the National Assembly) have been updated. Can I read them?'

At that point, the chamber became restive as Senators shouted their disapproval and insisted that the bill be withdrawn.

Senate President, David Mark expressed surprise that 'what was read (on the floor) is different from what was brought here for amendment.'

Deputy Majority Leader, Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi) informed Senators that Enang had initially been persuaded not to present the bill as it is 'an important, sensitive matter. We advised that he should stand it down.'

Chairman of the Niger Delta Committee, Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta) urged 'the sponsor of the bill to take it easy. Withdraw it and bring it back for consideration on another legislative day.'

In his ruling, the Senate President noted that 'that is not the format we are used to. Your explanation isn't even convincing people. Take it back and make a minor amendment to the bill.

Withdraw it, update it and bring it back.'