LAWYER-ACTIVIST ASK EFCC TO CHECK FLEEING OFFICE HOLDERS
Fiery lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Maxwell Opara has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to issue new practice directions directing former public office holders to obtain clearance before travelling overseas.
In a letter to EFCC Chairman dated March 22, 2022 and made available to CITY LAWYER, Opara stated that “a more critical process should be put in place, through another practice direction or policy,” adding that the new directive would “serve as a deterrent against involvement in financial crimes.”
According to him, “The said policy would establish a framework whereby any elected/appointed public officer, whether enjoying immunity or not, would be required to obtain a letter of clearance from your commission upon the expiration of their tenure in order to travel abroad. This will forestall a situation where those who may be elected or appointed as such, would at the end of their tenure attempt to surreptitiously escape from the country, maybe through the borders, just to evade your commission’s watchful eyes or undermine the use of the watch list afore mentioned.”
March 22, 2022.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
301/3012 Research and Institution Cadastral
District, Jabi, Abuja.
RE: URGENT NEED FOR YOUR COMMISSION TO ISSUE A PRACTICE DIRECTION REQUIRING EVERY ELECTED OR APPOINTED PUBLIC OFFICER TO PROCURE A LETTER OF CLEARANCE FROM YOUR COMMISSION BEFORE TRAVELLING OUT OF THE COUNTRY AT THE EXPIRATION OF THE SAID PUBLIC OFFICER’S TENURE.
My name is Maxwell Opara, Esq. I am a Senior Legal Practitioner and a Human Rights Activist. I have over the years used the instrumentality of the Non-governmental organizations that I am associated with to campaign against corruption and bad governance in Nigeria.
Sir, I write in the afore stated capacity to first and foremost express my appreciation to the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, under your able leadership, for the way and manner the commission’s fight against corruption and financial misappropriation has recorded tremendous successes, more especially in the area of conviction of suspects e.g corrupt political office holders.
However, I understand that a lot of work still needs to be done in order to substantially nip financial misappropriation and corruption in the board. More especially, in the facet of creating discouraging deterrents against elected/appointed public office holders who see the occupation of various public offices as a tool to embezzling public funds for their personal aggrandizement.
I am aware that your commission had devised a practice direction, wherefore elected/appointed public office holders are put on a watch list and incessantly monitored to ensure that as soon as they leave office, more so, the elected office holders that enjoy immunity, the commission can swiftly deploy the charges waiting for them and use same to facilitate their arrest and prosecution for their assorted financial crimes.
The forgoing use of watch list is commendable and has produced tremendous results for the commission in the fight against financial crimes and corruption, nevertheless, I think that a more critical process should be put in place, through another practice direction or policy, which would be made by your humble self, pursuant to your powers under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, to serve as a deterrent against involvement in financial crimes.
The said policy would establish a framework whereby any elected/appointed public officer, whether enjoying immunity or not, would be required to obtain a letter of clearance from your commission upon the expiration of their tenure in order to travel abroad. This will forestall a situation where those who may be elected or appointed as such, would at the end of their tenure attempt to surreptitiously escape from the country, maybe through the borders, just to evade your commission’s watchful eyes or undermine the use of the watch list afore mentioned.
Sir, the above recommendation is for your kind consideration and I am very ready and available to explain further on my thoughts in respect of same if the arises.
Maxwell C. Opara Esq. LL.M, Chrt.MC, Notary Public.
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