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
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.
“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.
“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
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.