A former Senator, Ikechukwu Obiorah, said for a more effective war against corruption in Nigeria, a sitting President should lose the powers to appoint heads of agencies.
He listed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Speaking on Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’, Obiorah demanded that the entities be granted total independence.
The ex-Anambra South lawmaker said the membership should be made ex officio, with nominations for professional bodies and union.
Obiorah mentioned 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 head by a two-thirds majority vote.
Obiorah also called for a constitutional amendment to transform the Director of Public Prosecutions into the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and granted prosecutorial powers held by the Attorney General.
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 wants financial books on government spending to be made easily accessible to the public without formal applications as in the case of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.
“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 it would achieve more with 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 the Public Procurement Act amendment 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).
“The non-remittance of operating Surplus by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) 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”, Obiorah added.