Every corruption case lost on technical ground questions judicial integrity —Buhari
By Soni Daniel
Abuja—The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has expressed concerns over corruption cases being lost to technicalities at various levels of court in the country, stressing that such a development might serve as a disincentive in the fight against economic and financial crimes.
Bawa stated this yesterday in Abuja while speaking at the opening of a three- day capacity-building workshop, themed “Judicial Dynamism: A Key Factor in the Fight Against Economic and Financial Crimes”, organised for judicial officers, corruption investigators and prosecutors.
According to him, the loss of serious economic crimes and corruption cases on grounds of technicalities can boost the confidence of corrupt elements and negatively affect the cherished image of the Nigerian judiciary.
Bawa said: “As a Commission, we do not expect every judicial decision to go our way, but there are instances the EFCC and many Nigerians have been left at a loss about certain judicial decisions, where defendants who obviously have stolen our commonwealth and those who have aided and abetted them have been allowed to go home to enjoy their proceeds of crime on technical grounds.
”This has the tendency of affecting negatively the cherished image of and confidence in the Nigerian judiciary both locally and internationally.
“In the commission, we hold the view that corruption is a plague that does not select its victims. Those stealing and abusing our common patrimony do not wish us well. Judges are as much victims of corruption as the ordinary man on the streets.
On the issue of corruption cases being lost on technical grounds, President Muhammadu Buhari said it was an issue generating concern among Nigerians.
“Every corruption case lost on technical ground raises questions about judicial commitment to the fight against corruption. Perpetrators of corruption, economic and financial crimes should not be allowed to escape the justice they deserve on grounds of technicalities and conservatism.
”The judiciary should not see itself or act as mere spectators or bystanders, whilst criminals exploit mere technicalities to escape with our commonwealth, get bolder and embolden others to continue in the unwholesome act of corruption,” he said.
The President, who spoke through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, charged judicial officers to “consciously aim to plug loopholes being exploited in our laws by critical elements in our midst.”
In his goodwill message, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, commended the EFCC and the National Judicial Institute, NJI, for collaborating over the years in building capacity for judicial officers, stressing that technological advancements and globalisation had made it imperative for law enforcement agencies and the judiciary to be up to date with emerging trends.
“ We are aware that technological advancements and globalization have brought about an increase in digital activities and transactions. Economic and financial crimes have moved to the digital world and cybercrime has become the focal domain of criminals.
”There is need, therefore, to bring our judiciary and the law enforcement agencies up to date with emerging digital trends”, he said.