By Chimezie Godfrey
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has congratulated the newly appointed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC).
The Executive Director, CISLAC and Country Representative of Transparency International (TI), Auwal Rafsanjani who stated this on Wednesday also urged the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa to be independent of political influence.
According to him, political interference has been a major barrier to the fight against crime and corruption across the country.
He said,”CISLAC/ (TI) will like to congratulate Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa on his confirmation by the Senate as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It is our wish that he will use his youthful energy and knowledge as an official who passed through the ranks of the commission to implement reforms and ensure a fair and balanced fight against corruption in Nigeria by his commission.
“Moving forward, we will like to specifically point out key areas we think the new chairman should focus on.
“First of all we will like to call on Mr Bawa to ensure that the commission is totally independent from political influence. This is a major challenge facing anti-graft and law enforcement agencies across the country.
“We at CISLAC/Transparency International (TI) hold the opinion that the insulation of the commission from vested interests is very fundamental in the fight against corruption.
“It is also important that the cooperation and synergy between the EFCC and its sister anti-graft and law enforcement agencies is increased to ensure better results in the fight against corruption.
“In the area of investigations and prosecutions of cases, the commission should endeavour to be thorough before court filing and processes. This is to ensure sufficient utilization of scarce resources.
“The EFCC should also increase its international cooperation with external partners especially in the areas of asset recovery and management. While doing this, the agency should also be very transparent in the management of assets it recovers as this will go a long way in determining the amount of cooperation the commission receives from international state and non-state actors.”
Rafsanjani urged the new chairman to make efforts to ensure that the EFCC Establishment Act 2004 is amended to ensure an active and effective board to oversee the operations of the commission.
He stressed that the welfare of the staff of the commission must be well catered for, adding this his is because while they can not rule out greed, it is important to provide the basic needs for officials of the commission so as to prevent compromise due to the quest to meet the aforementioned needs.
Rafsanjani added that the commission should also set up internal policies and controls to ensure that staff who abuse their office are promptly investigated and sanctioned in line with existing laws and regulations.
He pointed out that training and retraining should be conducted for staff of the commission in line with global standards.m, adding that this will help keep the commission abreast with the dynamic nature of financial crime in general.
“Finally, the new chairman should also ensure that he engages non-state actors especially the media and civil society organizations and provide information to the public in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2011. By doing this, he will make the fight against corruption a collective effort with increased participation by citizens.
“We believe that if the above areas receive the required attention, the fight against corruption in Nigeria by the agency will be greatly improved.
“As law abiding citizens and patriotic Nigerians, CISLAC/Transparency International will be available to support the commission within our capacity to ensure that corruption is reduced in Nigeria and the best interest of Nigerians is protected, ” Rafsanjani stressed.