- A Nigerian lawmaker has proposed a bill that seeks amnesty for treasury looters
- The bill is currently awaiting second reading
- Linus Okorie, a lawmaker in Ebonyi PDP, sponsored the bill
Based on the proposed law currently awaiting second reading in the House of Representatives, looters of Nigerian treasury may get “full and complete amnesty”.
The features of the proposed law will grant looters the opportunity to escape any form of probe, inquiry or prosecution after fulfilling certain conditions.
The said looter shall not be forced by any Nigerian authority to disclose source of the looted funds.
The proposed law is titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to establish a scheme to harness untaxed money for investment purposes and to assure any declarant regarding inquiries and proceedings under Nigerian laws and for other matters connected therewith," and it is expected to last for three years.
The bill which is currently awaiting second reading was read for the first time on June 14 on the floor of the House.
Linus Okorie (PDP, Ebonyi), who sponsored the bill insisted that the bill will help Nigeria in diverse ways..
The draft law covers all assets whether held in Nigeria or outside the country.
The bill, dubbed ‘Economic Amnesty,’ (1) that “...any person may make, on or after the date of commencement of this Scheme but before a date to be notified by the Central Bank of Nigeria in an Official Gazette, a declaration in respect of any income chargeable under the income-tax law for any assessment prior to the enactment of this Act.”
Section 3 (2) states that: “Where the income chargeable to tax is declared in the form of investment in any asset, the fair market value of such asset as on the date of commencement of this Scheme shall be deemed to be the undisclosed income for the purposes of sub-section (1).”
In Section 5, the bill proposes that “the amount declared from the undisclosed income shall (after payment of the tax, surcharge in respect of the declaration) be invested in Nigeria by the declarant in any sector of the Nigerian economy.”
“Being an interventionist Scheme, the bill proposes a time-frame of three years for the commencement of its implementation unless extended by the Executive, through CBN.
“In return, the bill proposes a total and comprehensive amnesty for all declarants from all otherwise repercussions under Nigerian laws and further provides that all such declarations shall be inadmissible in evidence against the declarant except in ‘matters of national security,” the lawmaker said.
Matters of national security are those facts and issues to be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction before effect is given to the exception, the bill says.
“Outside the exception on grounds of national security, no declarant shall be required to state the source or sources of the assets or income declared,” the lawmaker said.
He said the bill was “proposed as a practical, though temporary, solution to a national cankerworm - corruption - which has afflicted all generations of our society, since independence and force us continuously down the development pyramid.
“It provides a window to the quagmire facing all repentant (past and present) actors, who may have assets and resources within and outside Nigeria and find it difficult to acquit themselves under extant anti-corruption and related criminal laws of the land,” he said.
He also claimed that bill will help Nigeria in diverse ways.
“It is estimated that with the quantum of resources envisaged to be declared and invested in the Nigerian economy, micro and macro-economic stability would result and in turn engender massive economic growth and prosperity with a short time,” he said.
“It would further enable national institutions and operatives to gain valuable insight and intelligence in assets tracing and tracking through professional analyses of generated information,” he said.
“The full and successful implementation of the proposed scheme will result in the purging of the rather accommodative mindset of most Nigerians of corruption and engender a new desired national attitude against crass acquisition of wealth to the detriment of the common good,” the lawmaker added.
Meanwhile, a poll conducted by anti-corruption agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), shows that Nigerians support the death penalty for public officials found guilty of looting the nation’s treasury.
According to the report, the poll was part of the agency’s sensitisation of the public towards embracing drastic measures in fighting corruption in Nigeria.
In the video below by NAIJ.com, a young man harshly criticizes Nigerian leaders.