APPEALS AGAINST LOST CORRUPTION CASES BY ANTI-GRAFT AGENCIES IS THE WAY TO GO, THE ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT MUST CONTINUE – CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has described the decision by the Federal Government; to file appeals through Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other anti-graft agencies against the recently lost cases on fraud as the way forward. “The fight against corruption must continue irrespective of the challenges being presently encountered or future ones”. The Centre averred.
Recently, the FG through the EFCC lost two cases, the Department of State Services, DSS and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC lost one each. Also, the case against Patience Jonathan, former first lady was lost, where a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos unfroze her $5 million account in Skye Bank.
Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL said “the recent court rulings that have apparently been in favour of suspected corruption criminals may seem to be negative and demoralizing but the momentum or tempo of the anti-corruption fight must not be dampened by the temporary ‘victories’ of pro-corruption elements.”
He said “there are bound to be challenges on the path of success of the anti-corruption drive, and the attitude to adopt is to always anticipate situations like this and to be prepared and armed with the necessary antidotes for scenarios that may inevitably emerge.”
“And beyond that, the FG must pay particular attention to enhancing competency in its prosecutions on one hand and improving tremendously the capacity of the anti-graft agencies on the other to achieve convictions on corruption cases.”
“The capacities of the investigators and prosecutors must be improved upon coupled with engaging services of qualitative, experienced and competent lawyers. Most high profile suspected corruption criminals use the benefit of their ill gotten wealth to engage the services of Senior Advocates Nigeria, SAN to procure their shields from justice; as against the lawyers engaged by the anti-graft agencies, many of whom have barely 10 years experience at the Bar in most cases. It is an open secret that the legal teams of high profile corruption suspects are consciously put together to ‘intimidate’ younger lawyers at the Bar who in most case are the ones engaged by the FG. This tactic has been repeatedly deployed by suspects, and the FG should have prepared its counter-tactic to ensure that criminals do not manipulate judicial processes to their advantage long before now.”
Mr. Adeniran however admonished that the hitherto kid’s glove attitude towards handling corruption cases must be abandoned. “Every lawful means necessary must be used to combat corruption. There should be no room for wobbly prosecutions; it has help suspects to delay justice unduly as in the case of former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke in the Malabu Oil Scam or Justice Ademola and others notwithstanding the plausible evidences against them.”
“We appeal to the Federal Government to further empower anti-graft agencies in terms of funds and manpower for the overall progress of the anti-corruption drive.”
Mr Adeniran concluded saying “we must keep the heat on, on the plunderers of our commonwealth; we must collectively make the kitchen hot to stave away cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes.”