The Oyo State House of Assembly has held a public hearing on the Anti-Corruption Agency Bill, 2019, proposed by Governer Seyi Makinde.
The hearing is part of efforts to ensure input in the proposed law to tackle corruption in the grassroots.
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation, Mr Kehinde Olatunde, said the establishment of the Anti-Graft Agency is necessary because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are overburdened with too many cases, particularly at the Federal and State levels.
The Lawmaker maintained that the Anti-Corruption Bill, if passed, would ensure probity, transparency, accountability and prudence in the management of public funds by managers in various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, at the State level.
Olatunde said; “The EFCC and ICPC are overburdened and they cannot get to the grassroots. They have too much work. Some cases are still pending with the agencies. This is why we need our own Agency to bring efficiency to the fight against corruption. The State Agency will get to the grassroots. Also, it is to bring transparency to governance and public administration.”
The Lawmaker, who represents Akinyele State Constituency 1 noted that Governor Makinde said he did not mind waiving his immunity to be the first to appear before the agency if need be because he wants transparency.
According to him, periodic public hearing of activities of the Assembly shows a clear demonstration of the visionary ideology of the Assembly.
Commending the decision of Governor Makinde to replicate the anti-graft agency at the State level, the Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin said that the ”Anti-Graft Agency would be a replica of the Federal Anti-Corruption agencies such as the EFCC and ICPC.”
Various groups and associations who submitted memoranda at the hearing were positive on the need for the establishment of the Agency in the State.
Presenting their memorandum, the representative of ICPC, Mrs Adeoluwa, said the Commission supported the initiative, stressing that the Constitution of the country enables a State to abolish any means of corruption in its jurisdiction.
He stated that the Agency should not restrict its activities to public offices alone but to private individuals and firms.
The ICPC representative also urged the Agency to create more room for confidentiality in the identity of personnel and whistle-blowers, to aid their safety and job security.
A representative of the Commissioner of Police, SP Funke Fawole of the Legal Department, Iyaganku, State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), advised that the Chairman of the Agency should be appointed by the State Governor after the approval of the House of Assembly.
She said that the Chairman should not assume office until he/she has declared assets at the Code of Conduct Bureau, stressing the need for the creation of a Head Office and branches in all the 33 local government areas of the State.
In his contribution, the Auditor-General of the State, Mr Gafar Bello, urged the Agency to organise public enlightenment programmes to sensitise people on the roles and activities of the Agency.