By Hassan Haruna Ginsau.
Delegates at the national conference adopted a recommendation which states that the Government should enact an ill-gotten gains act to discourage public office holders from looting public funds.
The recommendation will place the burden of proof of innocence on the accused, in other words an accused would be guilty until he/she proves his/her innocence.
In explaining the recommendation to delegates, deputy chairman of the conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi said “Once government says you’ve built a house costing 500 million you must have stolen the money. The onus is on the accused to say I didn’t steal the money and prove where he got the money.”
During yesterday’s adoption of recommendations from the committee, delegates also agreed that the legislature should strengthen its oversight functions and the fiscal responsibility commission should be fully empowered to carry out its monitoring responsibilities.
The Adamu Aleiro headed committee also had its recommendation that a minimum of 50% of funds available in the excess crude account at any time should be used for funding the Nigerian sovereign investment authorities’ account adopted, defeating an amendment which proposed a minimum of 30% funds as opposed to the recommendation’s figure of 50%.
Other recommendations adopted were that; debt monitoring offices should be set up in each state to monitor projects tied to borrowed funds; and that 10% of funds from the excess crude account should be set aside for the proposed agricultural development fund.
Delegates however rejected a proposal that ports development and ownership should be on the concurrent legislative list.
Following the presentation by the chairman, committee on public service, Mrs Ebele Okeke on her committees recommendations, deliberations will commence today.