ABUJA- CHAIRMAN, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti- Corruption, PACA, Professor Itse Sagay, took a swipe at the Senators and members of the House of Representatives, alleging that they ask for gratification before embarking on Oversight Functions to Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Prof. Itse Sagay
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a visit to the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Professor Sagay urged the leadership of the National Assembly to look into the matter, with a view to ensuring that the oversight work of the Senate does not involve anything that will be described as extortion.
Sagay who appealled to the President of the Senate to as a matter of urgency, confirm the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu to the position of substantive chairman of the anti- graft agency.
According to him, Sagay, the confirmation has become very imperative because the EFCC boss has been in acting capacity for years, even as he called for the passage of certain anti-corruption bills: Special Criminal Court, and other similar bills which will help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight is successfully done with speed and energy.
Sagay said, ” I wish to appeal to the Senate to consider the speedy confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu who has done magnificent work so far in the years of being in that position and who will be a good companion to the legislature in achieving the aims of anti-corruption in this country.
“We also want to bring before the Senate, some of the criticisms of the public in the area of oversight. There is this constant complain that members of committees demand some form of gratification before they would visit a place or write anything favourable abut the MDA. We appeal to the leadership to look into it and ensure that the oversight work of the senate does not involve anything that will be described as extortion.
“This issue of constituency project has been a controversial one. I don’t want to express any opinion. all I want to plead is that you look into it and ensure that it is something of benefit to the constituents and constituencies of this country and not a subject of controversy anymore.”
Responding, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said that as a new Senate, confirmation of Magu could only be carried out if there was a fresh Request to that effect, even as he said that the Senate was yet to get such.
Lawan said, “You have talked about passage of anti-corruption bills, you have come to the right place, but you will also do your work. “This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Representatives too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.
“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning. We are ready, infact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them.
” On the The confirmation of Acting chairman of EFCC, the President of the Senate said, ” there is no request before this senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of EFCC. This is a new Senate and therefore, until there is a request to this Senate, there is nothing the Senate can do. ”
And I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation and the Senate will act expditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.
As for oversight, as far as I know, I am not a receipt of any complaint and I have been in this National Assembly for 21 years. But Mr chairman if any committee asks for anything from any MDA that is not appropriate,the law is there to take its full course.
“We believe that no committee or member of the national assembly will go out of his way to ask for anything before undertaking an oversight.We will gold those charged with public funds for implementation accountable.You said you wish that constituency projects serve the purpose for which it is created. Amen.”