The Senate on thursday passed the newly amended Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, which prevents the President, Olusegun Obasanjo from unilaterally sacking any member of the commission, including its chairman, without recourse to the National Assembly.
Similarly, the new law also stipulates that EFCC must obtain a court order before confiscating the properties or freezing the accounts of suspects.
The amended act also says "the chairman or any member of the commission, may only be removed by the president acting on the address supported by two-thirds majority of the senate for inability to discharge the functions of the office or for misconduct", while section 43 which had given powers to the Attorney General of the Federation to make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise to any of the duties,functions or powers of the commission,now reads "without prejudice to the provision of section 174 of the constitution in the exercise of its functions, the commission shall not be subjected to direction or control of any authority or persons".
For the offence bordering on acts of terrorism, the life imprisonment sentence has now been reduced to a maximum of seven years on conviction.
Attempts by some senators to ensure that serving police officers like Nuhu Ribadu(EFCC chairman) do not have the opportunity of sitting at the helms of affairs of the commission, however met a brickwall, as majority of the senators rose in defence of Ribadu,saying that he has so far performed credibly.
While all the amendments proposed by the ad hoc committee that worked on the Act were the ones adpoted by the senate, the amendment that now mandates the EFCC to obtain a court order before freezing the account of or confiscate a suspect's property was proposed by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Jonathan Zwingina and it was adopted.