Monday 2 November 2015

Why EFCC And ICPC Often Fail To Successfully Prosecute High Profile Criminal Cases

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has revealed why anti-graft agencies in the country often fail to successfully prosecute high profile criminal cases.

According to the CJN, aside the fact that the agencies conduct shoddy investigations before rushing accused persons to court, in some cases, “up to 200-count charges are brought before the court”, a procedure which he said “makes mockery of the constitution and the laws”.

Justice Mohammed, who disclosed this when a delegation from the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, NEFF, paid him a courtesy visit weekend, insisted that problems associated with adjudication of criminal cases were not mainly from the courts. He said: “It is in the investigation, collection of evidence, presentation of the cases and trial”.

The NEFF delegation was led by the Deputy Governor (Operations) at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Alhaji Suleiman Barau.

Barau told a team of Supreme Court Justices that received them alongside the CJN that the reason for their visit was to create a synergy between the NEFF and the judiciary in anticipation of increase in electronic fraud.

He hinged the anticipated rise in e-fraud on imminent increase in electronic payments in the country following the take-off of ‘cash-less policy’, which he said already has a pilot project in Lagos State.
While maintaining that the judiciary has been quick to properly position itself to meet the challenges posed by the dynamics of the digital age, the CJN said: “Judiciary is like a builder, and works with materials that are brought to it.
“As such, the materials necessary for construction must measure up to standard in order to be applied by the courts. ”
The CJN continued: “Courts cannot carry out investigation and our security agencies must be encouraged to carry out investigation-led arrest and not arrest-led investigation”.
The CJN stressed that once suspects are charged to courts, there should not be too many counts of offences (charges), stressing that for anti-graft agencies to successfully nail accused persons, they must, at least, call a witness or more on each count in the charge.
“In some cases up to 200 count charge are brought before the court which is a waste of court’s time and makes mockery of the constitution and the laws”, he added.
The CJN told the delegation that most Superior Courts in the country, including the Supreme Court, have enacted Practice Directions on Serious Crimes like Money Laundering and Fraud, saying the aim is to fast track the adjudication of cases and ensure speedy trial of accused persons.

He said that the judiciary, as a matter of principle, gives priority to fraud or criminal cases, especially those brought on appeal to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
“I wish to assure the Forum that the Judiciary will stand with the Bankers’ Committee in providing an effective solution to electronic fraud and other ancillary issues.
“Indeed, it is our hope that soon Nigeria will become a major destination for the movement of capital and investment”, the CJN added

Credit: Vanguard

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