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Legal practitioners’ role in effective implementation of anti-corruption laws

Presumption in favour of admissibility of certificate issue by principal or employer; Admissibility of translation of documents; and Evidence of custom or convention inadmissible.[31]4.2.6   Prosecution and Trial of offences

•Layi Babatunde, SAN

The Act clearly provides for the procedural steps for the prosecution of offenders. These include: Prosecution of offences; Joinder of offences; Certificate of indemnity in favour of full disclosure; and Protection of informers and information.[32] Indemnity of officers of the Commission; Liability for offences committed outside Nigeria; General application to any other offence; General penalty section for any other offence; Notice of any prosecution under the Act to be served on the Commission; Powers of the Chairman to make rules; Right of appeal.[33]4.2.7   Some of the other provisions of the Act, relevant particularly to the Legal Practitioner, are the following: 23(2) & (3) provides:

(2)Any person from whom gratification has been solicited or obtained, or from whom an attempt has been made to obtain such gratification, in contravention of any provision of this Act, shall, at the earliest opportunity thereafter, report such soliciting or obtaining, or attempt to obtain the gratification together with the name, if known, or a true and full description of the person who solicited, or obtained, or attempted to obtain the gratification from him, to the nearest officer of the commission or police officer.

(3) Any person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both fine and imprisonment.

  1. 39 provides: notwithstanding the provisions of the any other written law, a judge of the high court may, on application made to him in relation to an investigation into any offence under this Act or any other law prohibiting Corruption, order a legal practitioner to disclose information available to him in respect of any transactions or dealing relating to any property which is liable to seizure under this Act provided that no court shall require an advocate or solicitors to disclose any privileged information or communication which came to his knowledge for the purpose of prosecuting any pending proceeding.

This provision should be taken along with S. 192 Evidence Act, 2011 which provides:

(1) No legal practitioner shall at any time be permitted, unless with his client’s express consent, to disclose any communication made to him in the course and for the purpose of his employment as such legal practitioner by or on behalf of his client, or to state the contents or condition of any document with which he has become acquainted in the course and for the purpose of his professional employment or to disclose any advice given by him to his client in the course and for the purpose of such employment:

Provided that nothing in this section shall protect from disclosure –

(a) any such communication made in furtherance of any illegal purpose; or

(b) Any fact observed by any legal practitioner in the course of his employment as such, showing that any crime or fraud has been committed since the commencement of his employment.

(2) It is immaterial whether the attention of such legal practitioner was or was not directed to such fact by or on behalf of his client.

(3) The obligation stated in this section continues after the employment has ceased.

Section 52 provides:

(1) When an allegation of corruption or anything purporting to contravene any provision of this Act is made against the President or the Vice-President of Nigeria or against any State Government or Deputy Governor, the Chief justice of the Federation shall, if satisfied that sufficient cause has been shown upon an application on notice supported by an affidavit setting out the Facts on which the allegation is based, authorize an independent counsel (who shall be a legal practitioner of not less than fifteen years standing) to investigate the allegation and make a report of his findings to the National Assembly in the case of the president or Vice- president and to the relevant state House of Assembly in the case of the state Government or the Deputy Governor.

(2) The Commission shall be enjoined to fully cooperate with such independent counsel and provide all facilities necessary for such independent counsel to carry out his functions.”

4.3 Money Laundering Act[34]

The Money Laundering Act was first enacted in 2004 and re-enacted in 2011. The Act makes comprehensive provisions to prohibit the financing of terrorism, the laundering of the proceeds of a crime, or illegal acts. It also provides appropriate penalties and expands the scope of supervisory and regulatory authorities so as to address the challenges faced in the implementation of the anti-money laundering regime in Nigeria.[35]

Section 14 creates a number of money laundering offences. These include: (1) Conversion or transfer of property derived from illicit traffic in narcotics, drugs etc. with the crime of concealing or disgusting their origin S. 14. (2) Collaboration in concealing or disguising the genuine nature, location, disposition, movement or ownership of the resources, property or rights thereto forum illicit tragic in narcotics drugs or any crime or illegal act S. 14(2) ML(P) Act, each attract penalties of 2-3 years. (3) A Director or employee of financial institutions is also liable where he:

(a) Warns owners of prohibited funds; (b) Destroys or remove prescribed register; (c) Carries out or attempts under a false identity any of the transactions under Section 1-5 i.e.

Other offences relating to many laundering include:

(i) Making or accepting cash payment of 0.5m and 2.0m from individuals and corporate bodies respectively; (ii) Not reporting international transfer of funds and securities of $10,000 or more to the CBN; (iii) Not duly complying to Over the Counter Regulation on exchanging transactions which include proper licensing by CBN, documentation of transaction exceeding $5,000 and profiling and keeping recording customers for at least 10 years – Penalties for (i) – (iii) are N25,000 for individual, N1.0m for financial institution and revocation of license by the CBN.


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