by ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The House of Representatives has initiated a Bill for an Act seeking to grant amnesty to former public officers who have looted Nigeria’s treasury but willing to invest their loots in the country’s economy.
The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for amnesty to persons with illegally acquired wealth, who are willing to voluntarily declare and invest the fund in the economy.
According to the Bill sponsored by the member representing Ohaukwu/Ebonyi federal constituency of Ebonyi State, Hon. Linus Okorie, is expected to operate for three years from the date of commencement, with the ‘establishment of the Voluntary Taxable income Recovery and Amnesty scheme’
The Bill will be listed for second reading, immediately the House resumes from its Sallah break.
If eventually passed into law, past and present public officers, who have looted the treasury and other Nigerians, with fraudulently acquired wealth would be granted amnesty if they voluntarily declare their loots and invest same in the economy.
According to the proposed legislation, from the date of the commencement of the amnesty scheme, Nigerians with ill gotten wealth, including looted funds stashed abroad, are expected to voluntary declare them before the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN).
After the declaration, 30 per cent of the declared sum will be paid as tax into the federation account for distribution to all the tiers of government in the country. While a 25 per cent surcharge on the tax shall be deplored towards agricultural and infrastructural developments in the country.
The remaining fund shall be invested in any sector of choice in the nation’s economy.
Okorie explained that the Bill is a practical step in the fight against corruption in the country.
He added that the Economic Amnesty Scheme would benefit the country immensely, as the quantum of resources envisaged to be declared and invested in the Nigeria economy will bring about massive economic growth within a short time.
“In effect, our anti-corruption drive would then be prosecuted on a new paradigm and robust strategy supported by a national consensus built upon a positive attitudinal shift,” he stated.