The House of Representatives, yesterday, dispelled media report on the recently approved merger of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by the Federal Government.
The House said such a merger could not have been sealed without the National Assembly being duly carried along.
The merging of the EFCC and the ICPC was part of recommendations made by the Steve Orosanye-led Presidential Committee on Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.
The merger of the two agencies was reported to have received the approval of the Federal Executive Council, and was part of the restructuring in the public service.
House Committee Chairman on Anti-Corruption, James Abiodun Faleke, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Lagos State, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen, stated that since the two agencies were creation of laws passed by the National Assembly, the Federal Government would not effect any merger between them without the consent of the National Assembly.
Faleke said the two anti-graft agencies performed different functions as specified by the laws which gave lives to them, dismissing as mere speculations report of their merger.
The ICPC and the EFCC were established in 2000 and 2003 respectively by the Acts of National Assembly.
Whereas the ICPC was saddled with the task of investigating cases of corruption within the public sector while making recommendations for prosecution of offenders, the EFCC on the other hand, was charged with the task of investigating financial crimes, such as Advance Fee Fraud (419) and money laundering, although there had been reports that one of the agencies had been interloping in the functions of the other.
However, separate sources from both ICPC and EFCC said they were not aware of any plan by the Federal Government to merge their agencies, as they described the report by Orosanye’s committee as mere recommendations.
They made clear that there had never been a White Paper published on the merger of the two agencies, stating that for such merger to take place, the government would have consulted with the management of the two agencies.
Recently, chairman of ICPC, Barrister Ekpo Nta, affirmed the relevance of his commission in the fight against corruption which, according to him, has been commanding the attention of the international community.
He disclosed that the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC, required that every country had a dedicated anti-corruption agency separate from the police since corruption, as a menace, was getting increasingly pervasive and intrusive across the globe.
The ICPC Boss attested that many countries now had anti-corruption agencies, stating that proponents and advocates of a merger of ICPC and other anti corruption agencies with the Nigerian Police might not have been aware of the international desire on the mode of fighting corruption across the globe. [Vanguard]