Tough days lie ahead for duplicitous individuals in Lagos, especially those in the public sector and government contractors, as the state government is establishing its own anti-corruption commission. The Lagos anti-corruption commission would be similar in operations, to federally established Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Its chairman would be appointed by the state governor, subject to the ratification of the House of Assembly.
The move is aimed at deepening the culture of accountability and transparency in the expenditure of appropriated public funds in Nigeria’s commercial capital. Already, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has signed the anti-corruption commission bill. The executive sponsored legislation tagged “Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill, 2021, had earlier been passed by the state House of Assembly. With the signing of the legislation on Monday, the commission would be set up in the coming days to investigate and prosecute government officials and registered contractors indicted for economic crimes and financial misappropriation. If the investigation leads to prima facie case, the offender would be prosecuted in court.
Sanwo-Olu, also on Monday, 19th of April 2021 assented to the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill, 2021, initiated by the executive arm to coordinate activities of lotteries agencies operating within Lagos. The governor described the move as a testimony to the effort towards entrenching accountability in governance and checking malfeasance among officers entrusted with public resources.
“The bill establishing Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission is an important legislation critical to the delivery of quality services to the citizens. When we came in, we had said we would be accountable and responsible in the appropriation of the state’s resources. We want to stand in front of the citizens to give account of how public funds are being spent.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the law would not only ensure accountability of public funds, responsibility of public office, but also promote dialogue among public officers to keep the trust of the people in the discharge of their duties in line with transparency. “The anti-corruption commission will ensure that all approved activities are implemented in accordance with budgetary allocation,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Giving further insights into the Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill, 2021, the governor explained that it would simplify and incorporate technological innovations in the gaming sector. The law sought to harmonise five gaming and lottery formats, such as casino, jackpot, pool, lotto and sports betting, thereby regulating the sector and checking fraudulent activities of unregistered game centres within the state.
BusinessDay gathered that the former lottery law of the state did not meet the contemporary needs in the industry, which necessitated the executive initiating the new law to accommodate technology in regulating the business.