Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 19 June 2017 | 1,202 times
The Senate has expanded the responsibilities of one of its committees to include taking petitions from members of the public on allegations of corrupt practices in any government establishment across the country.
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, disclosed this in his speech at the 11th Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association – Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) held in Lagos on Sunday. He said the decision was part of the Senate’s anti-corruption policy aimed at eradicating the menace in the country.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, also called on the NBA to partner with the National Assembly in using amendments of existing laws and introduction of new legislative proposals aimed to curb corruption.
The Senate President reiterated that the ongoing anti-corruption war could only succeed if it is devoid of politics even as he said the anti-graft bodies need more capacity building to enable them carry out thorough investigations.
Saraki said: “On the issue of corruption, while we have continued to pursue this issue using our oversight scheme, and for which there has been remarkable success, we however, think that unless we innovate and apply smart technology we will not go too far.
“The 8th Senate is expanding its anti-corruption policy by empowering its committee to now receive corruption petitions. The National Assembly is also taking another look at the issue of expansive discretionary powers under our laws that may be contributing to make corruption fester. We would therefore want you to ponder on this and work with us to use law amendments and new legislative proposals to narrow corruption opportunities to the barest minimum.
“Corruption is one area of our national life we cannot afford to play politics with. On the prosecution of cases, it is clear that there is a whole lot of more work to be done to ensure we succeed against corruption. The trend today with the cases we have seen play out indicates that a lot more work needs to be done to guarantee better outcome. From the prosecution culture to capacity there is a need for thorough investigations to take precedence over media sensationalism.
“There may be need for better training and strategy building. Let me once again charge you as lawyers to help come up with your ideas on what legislative path we can take to help close the gap.”
Saraki said that while the 8th Senate has surpassed previous sessions through the number of bills and legislative interventions, it has also fulfilled its major promise to open up the affairs of the National Assembly and publish its budget while also using new legislation to modernise the economy.
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