Lagos State Government is set to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission, with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday signing the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2021 into law.
Sanwo-olu said during the signing ceremony at Lagos House, Ikeja, that the move was to deepen the culture of accountability and transparency in the expenditure of appropriated public funds.
He said that with the legislation put in place, the anti-corruption commission, which would be formally set up in the coming days, had been backed by the instrument of law.
According to him, the commission is to investigate and prosecute officials of the state government and deregistered contractors indicted for economic crimes and financial misappropriation.
Sanwo-Olu said that the action was a testimony to the state government’s 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 on how public funds are being spent.
”To give credence to this promise, the executive arm initiated the bill and sent to the Assembly for approval.
“We believe that this law would ensure accountability of public funds, responsibility of public office, it will 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,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the anti-corruption commission would be independent in its operations and functions.
He said that the agency would complement efforts of similar agencies in the police and federal establishment.
Also, the governor assented to the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill 2021, initiated by the executive arm to coordinate activities of lottery agencies operating within the state.
He said that the Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill 2021 was to simplify and incorporate technological innovations in the gaming sector.
Sanwo-Olu said that 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.
He said that the former lottery law of the state did not meet the contemporary needs in the industry.
This, according to him, was why the executive initiated the bill to accommodate technology in regulating the business.
”As a forward-looking government, we are doing the needful to ensure fair play, regulation and monitoring is brought back into the gaming industry.
”The law is not in any form to stifle investment, but to offer better platform for lottery companies to enhance equity, transparency and make their investment more rewarding,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu reiterated that his government’s actions would continue to boost confidence of the public and promote accountability in governance.
He thanked the Speaker and members of the Assembly for cooperating with the executive arm and consistently prioritisng executive bills aimed at delivering good governance.
The Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, said that the two bills signed by the governor brought to 10 legislation sponsored by the executive and passed by the House of Assembly to strengthen good governance.
Onigbanjo said that 26 executive bills had been initiated since inception of the current administration.
”The anti-corruption agency to be established is akin to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute misappropriation of public funds in the state.
”The chairman of the agency will be appointed by the governor, subject to the ratification of the House of Assembly.
“If the investigation leads to prima facie case, the offender will be prosecuted in the court,” he said.