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Fraud examiners seek special courts for graft cases

By Waliat Musa
30 June 2022   |   2:37 am
The Federal Government has been urged to establish special courts to handle corruption cases for speedy hearing and adjudication.

FILE PHOTO: The judge’s gavel is seen in court room PHOTO: REUTERS/Chip East/File Photo<br />

The Federal Government has been urged to establish special courts to handle corruption cases for speedy hearing and adjudication.

This was one of the recommendations of the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria (CIFCFEN) in its review of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).

The country report was presented to the public at the EFCC Academy, Abuja.

NACS was designed by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Advisory Committee on Ant-Corruption (PACAC) as a response to combating corruption in 2017 in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) member-state parties’ obligations.

The document assessed the implementation of NACS goals for the period covering 2017 to 2021.

Explaining the rationale for the recommendation, CIFCFEN’s Second Deputy President and Chairman of the research team, Prof. Suleiman Aruwa, noted that the report identified insignificant conviction rates of prosecuted cases by EFCC and ICPC before the courts, which stood at two and one per cents in the period under review.

He said special courts would reverse the trend, noting: “This will speed up court hearings, allow acquisition of specialised knowledge on anti-corruption laws, produce legal specialists among lawyers and judges who can focus solely on their legal specialities. This, in turn, would strengthen capacity in forensic litigation support among fraud examiners.”

Other recommendations include: “Work to expedite action on court cases and collaborate with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to establish a monitoring mechanism to check abuse of court process by legal practitioners; amendment of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to remove constraints standing against the enforcement of economic and financial crime sanctions, balancing the rights of citizens; institutionalisation of PACAC, professional bodies and other key stakeholders in NACS and utilisation of mobile technology and applications to harness data and gain faster insight into crime evolution and prevention.”

On objectives of the report, CIFCFEN President/Chairman of Council, Dr. Iliyasu Gashinbaki, said the move seeks to specifically assess the performance of relevant agencies in the five concurrent pillars of the national anti-corruption strategy; provide government and public with a fair and objective assessment of the anti-corruption effort in Nigeria and make recommendations.

Present at the presentation were: the Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Prof. Mohammed Isah and his Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) counterpart, Maimuna Abubakar.

Others are representatives of the Attorney General of the Federation, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (INEC), United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and development partners, among others.

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