Wednesday, January 20

Falana calls for establishment of anti-corruption court

Falana calls for establishment of anti-corruption court

Falana

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said on Wednesday urged the President Muhammadu-led Federal Government to sponsor a bill for the creation of special anti-corruption court for speedy determination of graft cases.

He said though the Federal Government deserved commendation for its renewed fight against corruption, the anti-graft war could not be won in the regular courts which he said were already congested and prone to adjournment of corruption cases to the delight of the high profile suspects.

Falana, who said this in a lecture which he delivered at an ocassion at the Faculty of Law, Osun State University, Ifetedo, added that the regular court would not be able to cope with the number of cases that would likely be filed following the indictment and subsequent recommendation of suspects for prosecution.

The lecture, a copy of which was sent to our correspondent shortly after the Senior Advocate of Nigeria delivered it was titled, ‘The justiciability of socio-economic rights in Nigeria’.

It read in part, “With the ongoing investigations into serious allegations of massive corruption in the office of the National Security Adviser, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian Ports Authority etc it is clear that the regular courts cannot cope with the trial of the many suspects that are likely to be indicted and recommended for prosecution.

“It is high time the  Executive sponsored  a bill for the establishment of an anti-corruption court. Otherwise, a decade from now the corruption cases which were commenced 17 years ago will remain in the docket! The proposed court will specifically handle cases of corruption, terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, advance fee fraud and other economic crimes. The proposed courts should be manned by judges of proven integrity.”

Falana firmed up his submission with a recent release by the Minister of Information and Culture disclosing that that cases of 55 ex-public officers  and businessmen standing trial for allegedly stealing N1.3trn in the last eight years had been subjected to an indeterminable delays.

He called for urgent need to reorganise the ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal.

He also called on the Army to court-martial military officers who had allegedl diverted billions of dollars meant for procurement of arms.

He said, “It is my submission that the military officers who diverted billions of dollars and naira earmarked for procurement of arms and armament are liable to be charged under section 45 for aiding the enemy and section 52 for mutiny by impeding or sabotaging the counter insurgency operations and thereby collaborating with the enemy, section 62 for failure to perform military duties and section 66 for stealing under the Armed Forces Act. Although retired military officers cannot be subjected to trial after 3 months after retirement the limitation does not apply to mutiny by virtue of section 169 (2) of the AFA.

“The proposed trial before military courts will meet the justice of the case and the expectations of the public. More so, that the Rules of Procedure applicable in courts-martial have no room for frivolous adjournments, motions for bail, interlocutory appeals, stay of proceedings of proceedings and interim or perpetual injunctions.”

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