Samuel Luka, Bauchi
In order to ensure that all approved activities are implemented in accordance with budgetary allocations, the Bauchi state government has sent a bill to the state assembly for the establishment of Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission in the state.
In a summary of the proceedings of Thursday plenary which was presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sulaiman, his Spokesperson Comrade Abdul Ahmad Burra said the debate on the bill was led by the majority leader of the house, Hon. Tijjani Muhammad Aliyu.
The summary of the plenary which explained that the bill emanated from the executive, said that the majority leader while leading the debate, explained that it was aimed at establishing an independent commission to be saddled with the power to investigate either on its own initiative.
He said that bill when passed into law will entertain complaints lodged before it by any other person on any administrative action taken by any ministry, department, agency, parastatal or any local government area in the State.
Hon. Tijjani described the Bill as an important legislations critical to the delivery of quality service to the citizens of the State.
“This law would would not only ensure accountability of public funds, responsibility of public office but also promote dialogue among public officers to keep the trust of people in the discharge of their duties in line with transparency”, the Lawmaker said.
He said that the Commission when established, will have statutory power to investigate or receive complaints from any statutory commission or public institution set up by State Government, any company incorporated under or pursuant to the Companies Allied Matters Act owned by Bauchi State Government, or any officer or staff of any of the institutions mentioned above.
“The law will pave way for the Commission to investigate any offense under the Penal Laws of the State that boarders on corruption, financial crimes, abuse of office, offenses relating to administration of justice, obtaining property by false pretenses, receiving stolen properties or properties fraudulently obtained and similar offenses as well as fraudulent dealing with property by debtors.” The Majority Leader explained.
Hon. Tijjani said that the Commission will have the power to take over the investigation of all Anti-Corruption and financial crime cases involving the finances and assets of Bauchi State Government being investigated by any other agency.
He noted that when established, the Commission can investigate into properties of any public servant with the jurisdiction of the State if it appears to the Commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by the person’s legitimate source of income.
According to him, the commission is also saddled with the responsibility of adoption and enforcement of resources to ensure transparency in the management of resources of the State Government as well as freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from acts of corruption or financial crimes related offenses or properties, the value which corresponds to such proceeds provided that the Commission shall obtain a court order.
After leading in the debate, Hon Tijjani moved that the House allow the Bill to scale the 2nd reading and was seconded by the minority leader of the house, Hon. Bakoji Aliyu Bobbo (Chiroma Constituency).
Aliyu Bobbo described the bill as a straight forward one, adding that, it’s a legacy bill to both the Executive and the Honourable House.
In his contribution, Speaker Abubakar Suleiman said that the Bill is one of the most important bills ever presented to the Honourable House as executive or private member bill.
He added that the Bill is for the betterment of the society in order to eradicate corruption in the State.
The Honourable Members unanimously adopted the motion and the Speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Umar Yusuf Gital Esq to take the 2nd reading.
After the Second reading, the bill, according to the summary of the plenary was referred to the House Committee on Petition and Public Complaints for further legislative action.
“The Committee was given three weeks to report back to the house”, Comrade Burra said