The outgoing 9th Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to amend the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act.
Presenting his report, Abdu Kwari, chairman of the Senate anti-corruption committee, said there was a need to make the punishment for writing false petitions stringent to deter people from misleading the commission.
Contributing to the debate, senator representing Kebbi Central, Adamu Aliero, said people, including senators, suffer at the hands of the commission due to false petitions.
But according to The Cable, details revealed that the senators whittled down the chairman’s powers, making him a figurehead who would be susceptible to contestations within the commission.
ICPC CHAIR’S POWERS WHITTLED DOWN
Section 7(1) of the ICPC principal act provides that “the chairman may issue administrative orders to be called ‘standing orders,’ which shall conform with the provisions of the general control, training, duties and responsibilities of officers of the commission, and for such other matters as may be necessary or expedient for the good administration of the commission and to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of the commission.”
However, the Senate amended the provision and substituted “chairman” with the word “commission.”
The amendments made by the senators provide that the commission would have “deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, superintendents, assistant superintendent, senior investigators, investigators” in section 4(7) – the makeup of the anti-graft agency.
Also, in the principal act, section 4(2) provides “that the chairman and any four members of the commission shall constitute a quorum,” but a new subsection 2(a) was added, which reads: “The proceedings of the meeting of the commission shall be as provided in the schedule to this act.”
‘LENIENT’ PUNISHMENT FOR BRIBERY
Section 22 (3) of the principal act provides that “any public officer who, in the course of his official duties, inflates the price of any goods or service above the prevailing market price or professional standards shall be guilty of an offense under this act and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of seven years and a fine of one million naira.”
The N1 million fine was reduced to N500,000 without an option of jail term in the amendment considered and passed by the senate.