The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa has expressed concerns about corruption cases being lost to technicalities at various levels of court in the country, stressing that such a development may serve as a disincentive to the fight against economic and financial crimes.
He stated this on Monday, 23rd May 2022 in Abuja while giving his Opening Remark at 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, corruption cases being lost on technical grounds have a way of building confidence in corrupt elements and negatively affect the cherished image of the judiciary.
“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 tends to negatively affect the cherished image of and confidence in the Nigerian judiciary both locally and internationally.
“At 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 ordinary men on the streets. It is therefore in our collective interest that the gains of the fight against corruption are not reversed. This is also why we must aggregate fresh opinions and forge deliberate winning tactics and strategies to stem its ugly tide”, he said.
Reviewing the impact of the EFCC in the fight against economic and financial crimes in its 19 years of existence, the EFCC boss stressed that the Commission has carved a niche for itself with numerous milestones to its name. “However, in the little over a year that I have had the privilege to supervise, the Commission secured an unprecedented record of 2220 convictions. It is the highest ever in the history of the Commission and as I address you this morning, we have already secured 1222 convictions, thus far, this year”, he said.
While commending the judiciary for its role in making the conviction record possible, the EFCC Chairman advocated for an enhanced welfare package for Judges and Justices.
Other issues raised at the opening ceremony of the workshop are collaboration between the legislative arm of government and the judiciary in drafting and enacting laws, among others.
Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban- Mensem, and other top government officials also graced the occasion.