Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday signed into law a bill establishing Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission aimed at deepening the culture of accountability and transparency in the expenditure of appropriated public funds in the state.
The governor also assented to the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill of 2021 initiated to coordinate activities of lotteries agencies operating within the state at an event which took place at the Government House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Both bills, sponsored by the executive arm of government, were signed into laws days after they were passed by the House of Assembly.
Speaking after the signing, Governor Sanwo-Olu noted that with the legislation coming into force, the Anti-Corruption Commission, which will be formally set up in the coming days, would now have the force of law to investigate and prosecute officials of the state government and registered contractors indicted for economic crimes and financial misappropriation.
The governor said 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 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 for the appropriation of the state’s resources. We want to stand in front of the citizens to give an account of how public funds are being spent.
“To give credence to this promise, the executive arm initiated the bill and sent it to the Assembly for approval. We believe that this law would not only ensure accountability of public funds, the 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,” the governor stated.
Governor Sanwo-Olu assured that the Anti-Corruption Commission would be independent in its operations and functions, pointing out that the agency would complement efforts of similar agencies in the police and federal establishment.
The governor said the Lotteries and Gaming Authority Bill of 2021 was to simplify and incorporate technological innovations in the gaming sector, noting that the law sought to harmonise five gaming and lottery formats, such as casino, jackpot, pool, lotto and sports betting, and thereby regulating the sector and checking fraudulent activities of unregistered game centres within the state.
According to him, the former lottery law of the state did not meet the contemporary needs in the industry, saying it became imperative for the executive to initiate the bill to accommodate technology in regulating the business.
He assured that the new law was not out to stifle investment but to offer a better platform for lottery companies to enhance equity, transparency and make their investment more rewarding.
“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 a better platform for lottery companies to enhance equity, transparency and make their investment more rewarding,” he said.
The governor, while thanking the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and members of the Assembly for cooperating with the executive arm and consistently prioritising executive bills aimed at delivering good governance reiterated that his government’s actions would continue to be taken in a way that would boost the confidence of the public and promote accountability in governance.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), said the two bills signed by Governor Sanwo-Olu made it 10th legislation sponsored by the executive and passed by the House of Assembly to strengthen good governance, even as he disclosed that 26 Executive Bills had been initiated since the inception of the current administration.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission 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 a prima facie case, the offender will be prosecuted in the court,” Onigbanjo said.
Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon Rotimi Olowo, and his counterpart in Public Complaints and Judiciary, Hon. Victor Akande, among others, attended the event.