Why we are yet to file charges against some indicted corrupt leaders -Sagay

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The Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) yesterday said some indicted leaders were richer than Nigeria, through corrupt practices while in office

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Sagay also revealed why  anti-graft agencies were yet to file charges against some leaders indicted for corruption.

Executive Secretary of the committee, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye said this at a one -day workshop and media parley in Lagos, to review the committee’s activities in one year.

He maintained that some leaders named in high profile corruption cases were richer than the country and that lack of fund was a major challenge hindering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting them.

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“Low budgetary allocation is a definite slowdown to filing of cases. The Ministry of Justice is not a revenue-generating ministry. Some of these indicted leaders are even richer than the country, that’s why you will see an accused in court with four to five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) defending them. Do you know how much it costs to hire a SAN? he asked rhetorically.

Analysing  different strategies deployed by President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption, Owasonoye said with a different  framework for the monitoring and management  of recovered  stolen assets in place, “it is not possible to re-loot the loot.

No government has the capacity to prosecute all offences and that is the reason there is a legal framework for plea bargain.

“The plea bargain is not a trade off, but what has been set up with other guidelines to refrain suspects from seeing it as an outlet for easy escape.

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“The new Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) is meant to resolve challenges in the criminal justice system but, if it is failing, then, it is as a result of implementation,” he said.

Owasanoye also stressed the need to work with stakeholders on  improved legal framework,  enhance  capacity building  for  ministries, departments and agencies and the Judiciary, on money  laundering  and asset  recovery.

“We also intend embarking on a revisit of some high profile corruption cases like the Halliburton case, as well as others, and see them to a logical conclusion,” he said

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Owasanoye who identified poor  economy, ineffective  application of preventive measures, negative use of constitutional safeguards, and the manipulation of fault-line by suspects as other challenges the committee face in the last one year, called  for improved  collaboration  between  all arms  of  government  in the anti-graft war.

Other PACAC members are Profs. Etannibi Alemika, Femi Odekunle, Sadiq Isah Radda and Hadiza Bala Usman.

 

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