22 March 2012

Nigeria: Corruption - Judge Accuses EFCC of Delaying Prosecution

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is responsible for the slow process of corruption cases in courts due to lack of evidence, Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court Abuja has said.

Speaking at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights yesterday, Bello said the EFCC is delaying corruption cases because it struggles to gather evidence only after making an arrest.

"They bring a case with 153 charges, we will use the whole sitting to read the charges without them even providing a proof of evidence. When next they appear in court, they seek to amend the charges and then adjournment.

"They cannot even pursue their cases with all seriousness. They arrest people and then begin to look for evidence. They rush to the court without necessary evidence."

On the issue of establishing special court to try EFCC cases, Bello said that won't be necessary. "If the EFCC is clamouring for a special court, that will be a waste because the judges will end up redundant."

The judge made case for increase of justices of the High Court from 70 to 100 to ease administration of justice.

Bello argued that when the number is increased "we can dedicate certain number of judges to EFCC cases."

The Senate Committee chaired by Senator Umaru Dahiru (PDP, Sokoto) has requested the High Court to furnish it with the cost of maintaining a single judge per year to help it decide on the amendment bill.

The High Court registrar had told the committee that the cost of maintaining a single judge aside salary and allowances includes about N7 million for a latest model of Toyota Camry and another N5 million for a utility Hilux Van.

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