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Justice Salami leads panel to monitor trial of graft cases

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The appointment was approved by NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, as part of the decisions reached at the 82nd meeting of the council.

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, has been appointed chairman, Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).

According to a statement issued yesterday by the Director of Information, National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr. Soji Oye, the appointment was approved by NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, as part of the decisions reached at the 82nd meeting of the council.

The 15-man committee, which is expected to operate within the council, also has some judges and senior lawyers as members. They include Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah; Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice P.O. Nnadi; Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marsahal Umukoro and Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice M. L. Abimbola.

Others are President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN); Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN); Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Mr. J.B Daudu (SAN); Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN) and Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN).

Also appointed as members are representative of NJC, Mrs. R.I Inga; representative of non-governmental organisations, representative of Ministry of Justice as well as the representative of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

The committee is to regulate and monitor proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide; advise the CJN on how to eliminate delay in the trial of alleged corruption cases; give feedback to the council on progress of cases in the designated courts and conduct background checks on judges selected for the designated courts.

The committee is also expected to evaluate the performance of the designated courts. The CJN, in his speech at the special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of 2017/2018 Legal Year, emphasised the concerns expressed by members of the public on the very slow speed with which corruption cases were heard or determined by the courts.

He consequently directed all heads of courts to compile and forward to the council, comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crimes cases being handled by the various courts.

He also directed them to designate in their various jurisdictions, one or more courts, as special courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedily determining corruption and financial crimes cases.

The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal were also directed to fix a special date each week for hearing and determining appeals from such cases. The Salami-led committee is expected to drive the NJC’s new policy on anti-corruption war.



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