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EFCC links failed trial of corrupt leaders to judges

News » Politics

April 5th 2012


THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday narrated how Justice Charles Archibong set the stage for the dismissal of its case against former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola.

It therefore asked Nigerians to hold judges responsible for their increasing dismissal of corruption cases against some indicted citizens over “flimsy excuses or on technical issues.”

The commission said last Monday’s dismissal of Akingbola’s case was the latest addition to the long list of aborted prosecution of corrupt Nigerians, largely by the court.

The agency said it had become clear that the courts were becoming “too involved” in the cases before them.

Justice Archibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos dismissed the Akingbola’s case on what he called the “negligence of prosecution” in their handling of the matter.

But yesterday the EFCC lamented that such untenable excuses were given by other judges in its N40 billion case against former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole and former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, where the trial judge dismissed the case because the commission did not seek permission of the court before amending the charges.

The others are the exoneration of Senator Tony Elumelu and others in the power sector saga. The court had ruled that the evidence presented in the case failed to link Elumelu with the accusation. The others in the case however, are still to answer for the allegations.

The Halliburton bribery case, which is an inter-agency suit was lost a few weeks ago though the EFCC had said it was being handled by the Ministry of Justice.

A top official of the EFCC told The Guardian yesterday that the Justice Archibong dismissed the Akingbola’s case for reasons best known to him.

The official said when the judge’s interest was noticed, the commission filled an application to disqualify himself from the suit but he did declined; thereby mandating EFCC to file an appeal against his continued handling of the matter.

“The commission also wanted to amend the charges. So the judge wanted to strike a deal that the EFCC should amend the charges and forget about the appeal against his presiding over it. But the EFCC declined, choosing to amend the charges as well as going ahead with the appeal.”

“This did not go down well with the judge who decided if EFCC would go ahead with the appeal, then it would not also prosecute the case. This informed his verdict to strike out the case without trial and also ruling that it be not heard in any other court.

“The comment about our negligence in pursuing the case is not what actually happened. We have the commitment to prosecute our cases. No one goes to court spending money and other resources just so he can lose the case. There is no way the EFCC will engage five Senior Advocates including Godwin Oblah if it was not serious about the case”, he said.

He said the commission would certainly appeal the ruling but declared that the decision had not been reached yet.

Archibong had accused the prosecuting SANs of engaging in serious abuse of court process and incompetence in prosecuting the charges against Akingbola.



Article credit: Guardian Newspaper

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Updated 8 Years ago

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