Reps move to allow public officers operate foreign accounts
A bill seeking to allow public officers operate foreign bank accounts passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Under the extant Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 2004, it is criminal for a public officer to operate a bank account outside Nigeria.
The bill that passed second reading on Wednesday sought to amend this law “so as to make the leave of the Bureau necessary for a public officer to maintain or operate a bank account outside Nigeria.”
One of the supporters of the bill, Mr. Bamidele Faporusi, argued that the current law was “weak and ineffective”, as no public officer had been successfully prosecuted for flouting it.
He explained that the amendment proposed included a proviso that public officer must get the approval of the bureau before opening such an account.
He claimed that the disclosure would remove the secrecy surrounding foreign accounts.
Faporusi said, “Today, people are operating such accounts by proxy or even in the open because they know that nothing will happen.
“This amendment says you can operate the account but this must be with the leave of the bureau. People now know that there will be punishment for non-disclosure.”
Another lawmaker, Mrs. Aisha Dahiru from Adamawa State, told the House that the secrecy surrounding foreign accounts encouraged “the monumental corruption” in the country.
But, some members expressed reservations, fearing that the proposal would simply give public officers a licence to stash more government funds in private accounts overseas.
Source- THE PUNCH