Less than a week after the Senate introduced a bill to grant a full autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the upper chamber is set to pass the bill.
The amendment bill was introduced on Thursday, 20th of July, 2017 and was sponsored by the Senate committee chairman on Anti-Corruption and Financial, Chukwuka Utazi.
If passed this week, it will be the fastest since the Eight Senate was inaugurated on the 9th of June, 2015. The bill, if passed, will also weaken the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and yank off major responsibilities from the Act setting up the anti-graft agency.
Adopting a motion last Wednesday, the Senate resolved to pass a law creating a substantive and autonomous NFlU and make the unit legally and operationally autonomous with powers for the employment, reward training, promotion and discipline of its workforce independently.
Senate spokesman, Aliu Sabi, had while briefing Senate Correspondents, explained that the Senate was committed to enacting the law in good time to boost the anti-corruption fight of the Federal Government.
Sabi noted that when properly reorganised, the agencies that will benefit from the activities of the EGMONT Group will include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Immigration Service ( NIS), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and many other relevant governmental agencies.
The Senate had equally noted that “the EGMONT Group suspended Nigeria for a number of reasons including the fact that the NFIU which is the body that represents Nigeria in the Group has not been granted operational autonomy as well as the fact the Unit is still domiciled within the EFCC, a situation the Group has objected to over the years.”
Another reason for the suspension according to the Senate, was the alleged “meddlesomeness of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC in the affairs of the NFIU by his interference in the operations and staffing of the Unit leading to the departure of many competent hands.”
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