The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Thursday passed the Customs Management Act (Amendment) Bill, 2011 with a new section providing for the prevention and suppression of money laundering, drugs and arms trafficking and infringement of intellectual property rights.
The Bill, which modifies the initial Customs Management Act, 2004, has a new section providing for the prevention and suppression of money laundering, drugs and arms trafficking and infringement of intellectual property rights.
According to the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Musa Sirma, the Bill hoped to fill a gap left by the original Bill and proposed concerted effort in fighting against transnational crimes.
During the debate, Ugandan EALA member Dora Byamukama noted that all Partner States had appended their signatures to the international conventions against human trafficking and transnational organised crimes and the Assembly was, therefore, duty bound to pass the new Bill.
A report of the Committee on Communications, Trade and Investment on the consideration of the proposed amendments to the Bill was presented yesterday by Valerie Nyirahabineza.
The report, among other things, calls for the formation of a regional customs body to fully implement the Customs Management Act.
In response, Kenyan Assistant Minister for EAC Peter Munya on behalf of the EAC Council of Ministers, noted that the establishment of a single Customs Authority was well underway.
“It is on the agenda during the forthcoming Summit of the EAC Heads of State and we do expect that the Summit will next week consider the roadmap and pronounce the matter,” Munya remarked.
The section of the proposed amendment on terrorism was, however, removed from the Bill after Members supported the proposal brought to the House by Dan Wandera Ogalo.
Also passed by the Assembly was the Community Emblems Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012.
With it, the region will now institute the EAC anthem as part of the emblems of the EAC. The anthem currently in Kiswahili will be used in all future official EAC functions.
The Bill provides for the translation of the anthem in English to be made available. The EAC anthem was approved by the Summit of the Heads of State on December 3, 2010.
The Community Emblems Act (Amendment), 2012 further provides for preservation of the identity of the EAC, emblems and statutory protection of the EAC flag and seals. At the same time, with the passing and assent of the Bill, the EALA and EACJ Organs can officially adopt and use their logos. Both organs have in the past been using the EAC logo.