The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, considered and passed four executive bills seeking to tackle corruption and terrorism.
They are Terrorism (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022; Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022; Witness Protection and Management Bill, 2022; and Public Interest Disclosure and Protection Bill, 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in April forwarded to the National Assembly the revised versions of the Money Laundering Bill and Terrorism Prevention Bill which were already before the federal parliament.
On Wednesday, the bills passed first, second and third readings at the plenary, with the House skipping their referral to relevant committees to conduct public hearings on the legislations.
The House considered and adopted the report by the Committee on Financial Crimes on another legislation titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to make comprehensive provisions for seizure, confiscation, forfeiture and management of properties reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activities; and for related matters.’
In the Witness Protection and Management Bill, the House gave legal backing to the reward policy introduced by the current regime for whistleblowers in its anti-corruption drive.
Proposals were made to ensure that the unwillingness of witnesses to give evidence for fear of violence, serious injury, death or for such other reasons, do not frustrate prosecution of cases.
The bill particularly seeks to “establish legal and institutional framework to protect witnesses and related persons, with responsibilities for carrying out all administrative duties relating to witnesses and related persons, including providing temporary protection and related services; ensure that the relevant agency takes responsibility for entering into an agreement with the witness on behalf of the State.”
It also stated that the legislative framework shall apply to investigation and prosecution of offences relating to terrorism, money laundering prevention and prohibition, economic and financial crimes, corrupt practices and other related offences, drugs and narcotics and their trafficking, trafficking in persons, Criminal and Penal Code offences, as well as customs and excise management.
The proposed law would also cover any legislation dealing with proceeds of crimes, confiscation and forfeiture of assets, and such other offences as may be contained in enactments enacted by the National Assembly and designated by Attorney–General of the Federation by an order published in the Federal Gazette.