February 14, 2018 Josiah Oluwole
Stakeholders in Ekiti State on Tuesday made inputs in a bill seeking to establish the Ekiti State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and called for its speedy passage.
The bill which is titled, Ekiti State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(Establishment) Bill 2018, seeks to provide for the creation of a commission that will serve as a watch dog to financial administration in the state, investigate and prosecute corrupt financial crimes.
The bill is obviously inspired by a judgment of the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti, which declared that the EFCC lacked the powers to investigate the finances of states except a query first emanated from the Houses of Assembly of the states regarding such infractions.
The court also held that banks holding the financial records of states have no powers to make such records available to the EFCC or the police for the same reason.
At the public hearing, the Speaker of the House, Kola Oluwawole, said the essence of the public hearing was to ensure that every sector made inputs in the bill so that it could rightly be a law emanating from the people.
“The essence is to see the bill as one that touches every aspect of our lives as private or public entities, groups or individuals,” he said.
“Why Ekiti State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission? Overseeing of the financial status and how it is managed is the job of the House of Assembly, not only in Ekiti State, but also in all the 36 states of the federation.
“The federal EFCC has been harassing the states. That is why Ekiti went to court and thank God, we won. We want to set the pace in probity and accountability.”
The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Ayodele Fajemilehin, in his remarks, said the law when enacted, would see the commission investigate all economic and financial crimes, including advance fee fraud, diversion of contract fees, abandonment of projects, among others.
Speakers at the hearing include the state chairman of council of traditional rulers, Oloye of Oyè Ekiti, Olú Ademolaju; the state Head of Service, Olugbenga Faseluka; the state Auditor General, Kayode Daniel; Auditor General For Local Government, Bayo Adeojo; Chief Registrar of the state Judiciary, Obafemi Fasanmi; private legal practitioners, representatives of security agencies and NGOs.