by Adeola Balogun
The Nigerian House of Representatives is preparing to pass a law which will allow the president, the vice president and state governors among others to legally run foreign bank accounts.
The law will be an amendment to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act of 2004 which prohibits the ownership of foreign accounts by public office holders.
A sponsor of the bill, Bamidele Faparusi of Ekiti State, said that the purpose of the law would be to discourage money laundering as the public officers would be required to disclose the contents of the foreign accounts held by them.
Sponsors of the bills are Hon. Bamidele Faparusi (APC-Ekiti), Oluchi Ibeji (PDP-Abia) and Emmanuel Jime (PDP-Benue).
While presenting his Bill, Hon. Faparusi argued that: “The purpose of the law is to discourage the laundering of money and fraud by public officers. But it is public knowledge that nobody would use his bank account to launder money, instead proxies and cronies have become ready instruments for such purposes”.
He stated that: “The instant law, as it is today, does not contemplate this development and to tackle it, there is need to make for such public officer, who hitherto maintains and operates a foreign account and has cause to hold same, to get leave of the Bureau to continue to use such accounts. This would be an improvement from the practice of requiring a public office holder to close any foreign account so held by reason of the office now occupied.”
The 3-legged Bill which received unanimous endorsement of the members when put to vote by Speaker Aminu Tambuwal was later referred to Committees on Anti-corruption, Ethics and Values for a Public Hearing.