If the Bill being proposed by the House of Representatives is eventually passed into law, public officers, past and present, who fraudulently looted the nation’s treasury, would be granted amnesty if they voluntarily declare their loots and invest same in the economy.
The Bill being proposed will provide legal framework for amnesty for Nigerians with illegally acquired wealth, who are willing to voluntarily declare and invest the fund.
The Bill which has been introduced on the floor of the House before the lawmakers went on Sallah break, would provide for the “establishment of the Voluntary Taxable income Recovery and Amnesty scheme,” was sponsored by Hon Linus Okorie.
The Bill, which is expected to go for second reading, immediately the House resumes from its Sallah break, according to Okorie, would by this development mean that the nation’s anti-corruption drive would be prosecuted on a new paradigm.
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 voluntarily declare them before the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN).
The proposed Bill further states that 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 deployed towards agricultural and infrastructural developments in the country,
the declarant, according to the Bill, shall compulsorily invest the fund in any sector of his or her choice in the nation’s economy.
When all the conditions have been satisfied, the declarants shall be granted a comprehensive amnesty from all otherwise repercusions under the Nigerian law, while the declarations shall also be inadmissible in evidence except in matters relating to national security.
Under the proposed law, the economic amnesty scheme, would run for three years, from the date of commencement.
Explaining further on the Bill at the weekend, Hon. Okorie described it as 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.
The lawmaker said: “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.”