Losing graft cases on technical grounds is demoralising, EFCC tells judges

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Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, yesterday, expressed concern about corruption cases being lost to technicalities at various courts nationwide.

He maintained that the development might serve as a disincentive to the fight against economic and financial crimes.

The EFCC chair made the submission in Abuja while giving his opening remarks at a three-day capacity building workshop with the theme, “Judicial Dynamism: A Key Factor in the Fight Against Economic and Financial Crimes,” organised for judicial officers, investigators and prosecutors.

He submitted that graft cases being lost on technical grounds have a way of building confidence in corrupt elements, and negatively affecting the cherished image of the judiciary.

He said: “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 has the tendency of affecting negatively 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 the ordinary man 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.”

Reviewing impact of the anti-graft in the fight against economic and financial crimes in its 19 years of existence, Bawa stressed that the commission had carved a niche for itself with numerous milestones.

He added: “However, in the little over a year that I have had the privilege to superintend, the commission secured an unprecedented record of 2,220 convictions. It is the highest ever in the history of the commission and as I address you this morning (yesterday), we have already secured 1222 convictions, thus far, this year.”

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