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Why Nigerians must reject bill seeking amnesty for treasury looters – CACOL

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, on Monday urged Nigerians to compel members of the House of Representatives to ensure that the bill seeking amnesty for looters is not passed into law.

The Amnesty bill seeks to protect corrupt people who declare part of their loots.

In its reaction, CACOL said the proposed law bill seeks to give the looters “leeway to escape any form of probe, inquiry or prosecution after fulfilling certain conditions” and as such should be condemned in its totality.

The call was made by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran and contained in a statement sent to DAILY POST by the body’s Media Coordinator, Wale Salami.

The statement quoted Adeniran as saying, “If the bill is allowed to become law, it would encourage corruption with impunity.

“What the country needs at this time are laws that would strengthen the anti-corruption war and ensure punishment for looters.

“This bill is uncalled for because the only thing it will achieve is to encourage people to steal and return part of the money for amnesty.

“At the end, it will still be victory for corruption and that is not good for the development of the country.”

Adeniran also supported the decision of the government to publish names of looters, saying the move would go a long way in discouraging corruption, while urging the government to ensure judicious use of recovered looted funds so as to impact on the lives of the masses.

“Yes, the decision of the Federal Government to publish names of looters following a court order is a welcome development. We cannot say we are fighting corruption when people steal money at the expense of the generality of Nigerians and they cannot be identified, so the development is good for the anti-corruption war.

“However, the government must also ensure recovered monies are channeled into development projects.

“It is not justifiable to have bad roads, unemployment and all of that when recovered monies are lying somewhere. Government should not only publish the names but expend the recovered monies on development projects.”

“We have always insisted on punishing culprits of corruption to serve as deterrent to other corruption criminals and the potentially corrupt persons in the country.
“The non-application of punitive measures against persons guilty of corruption would make the whole anti-corruption war a huge joke, a waste of time, energy and resources.

“We acknowledge the difference between penitent corruption criminals and recalcitrant ones, it is correct to treat those who admit their guilt voluntarily and those that make the state to expend resources energy and time before their conviction is achieved differently, we agree to that extent.

“But our position is that those that opt for plea bargain or seek Amnesty should nonetheless not be allowed to go scot-free; they should hence be stripped of all their properties and monies as well as honours that could have been bestowed on some of them – they should be made to start life anew.

“All of their material possessions should be deemed as proceeds of corruption and therefore confiscated by the state. Then they can be told to ‘go and sin no more.”

“As for the recalcitrant ones, they should of course be made to face the full constitutional and judicial consequences of their crimes. They should be put in jail according to size of their loots, even up to life imprisonment.”

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