Senate whittles down powers of ICPC chair

The Senate has passed a bill to amend the law establishing the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which steeply cuts down on the power of the commission’s chairperson.

If it gets concurrent approval of the House of Representatives and the assent of Nigeria’s president, it may cripple the prime anti-corruption agency’s capacity to fight corruption, a review of the proposed legislation has revealed.

The upper chamber passed the legislation on Thursday seeking profound changes to the administration of the anti-corruption agency by devolving powers and responsibilities which the commission’s chairman wields for the day-to-day running of the agency to its board, which ordinarily meets periodically.

The bill seeks to create Commissioner (Investigative Matters), Commissioner (Legal Matters), Commissioner (Prevention, Systems Review and Financial Intelligence), Commissioner (Asset Recovery and Management), Commissioner (Anti-Corruption Education and Mobilization), and Commissioner, (Forensics and Emerging Technologies)—also, six other zonal commissioners representing the six geo-political zones.

The section added that “provided always that in assigning responsibilities to the commissioners, the president shall have regard to their geo-political zones and respective disciplines.”

By assigning responsibilities and functions to the board members, the lawmakers are elevating them from their mere supervisory roles to being involved in the daily running of the commission, which many fear would create a bureaucratic snag in the commission’s functioning.



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