By Esther Onyegbula
A London-based industrialist, Chief Christian Ebede, has advised the Federal Government to adopt the principle of ‘Comption Amnesty’ as a pro-active measure fast-track the recovery of large sums looted from public treasury.
Speaking during a visit to Nigeria, Ebede noted that the Buhari administration is faced with pressure to deliver on election promises like creating jobs, improving the epileptic power supply, etc, and suggested that the judicial system should adopt the amnesty alternative that worked in developed countries for effective recovery of the looted money instead of prolonged court trials, as well as wasting of time and scarce resources.
He posited that the amnesty should come on board with government being strict by putting velvet gloves over its fists of steel and requiring the looters to honour the Compton Amnesty or pay with their wealth and freedom.
Giving an insight into how the amnesty could work, Ebede said if Nigerians are asked to declare their income from salaries and wages, commissions and other payments received and to declare the tax they are liable to pay on the earned income in line with the prevailing rates, they will certainly do so for it is the law.
The government, he suggested, should ask Nigerians to pay up to 30% on any undeclared domestic or international income over the last 10years. “Although this broad definition needs some work but,any money from Compton could be treated as commission or unearned income. Individuals and companies would then need to review their financial submissions for the past 10years, calculate their “other funds” received and then declare 3% directly into the government Amnesty Account.
This, he stressed, will speed the revenue for the government that would enable it engage in the regeneration of the Nigerian ailing economy. To make sure that those concerned in the corruption Amnesty comply, Ebede emphasized the need for a task force of forensic accountants to be recruited by the government to review the submissions and the payments received and evaluate them properly.