7 February 2013

Nigeria: Stop Ridiculing Nigeria's Justice System, CACAOL Warns Judges

The Coalition Against Corruption Leaders (CACOL), has called on Nigerian judges to desist from treating corruption cases with kid gloves.

In a press statement by the chairman of the anti corruption group Mr. Debo Adeniran, said "its intervention has become imperative following recent developments in the nation's judicial system where cases that border on fraud and diversion of public funds are handled in less than transparent manner and with levity."

According to the coalition, "Of particular interest is the ongoing case involving an oil marketer, Mr Andy Uba and Access bank/Coscharis Maduka wherein the former was alleged to have diverted a loan of over $286 million into buying properties abroad instead of using same to trade in importation of petroleum products for which the loan was given. The failure of the businessman to pay the loan has therefore led to the case being taken to court for resolution, as a result of which Access bank had obtained a mareva injunction freezing Uba's assets worldwide.

"It is however alarming when we read in the papers the complaint of Mr Uba's lawyer in London that the judge hearing the case at a Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Abang had gone beyond the prayers of his client by ordering Access bank to withdraw the case in London.

"We will like to tell our judges that it is their failure to stand by and defend the course of justice in the Nigerian courts that is leading litigants to go out and seek justice where they are sure that their grievances will not only be heard but will be determined by the facts of their case rather than other factors as it is the case in Nigeria.

"That Access bank has gone to London to seek justice is an indictment on the judge handling the case in Nigeria and instead of rolling out orders intended to intimidate Access Bank, we expect the judge to be interested in the real issue of getting the loan paid back. That will resolve the problem. That will save the bank from suffering the same fate about 10 other banks suffered in 2008/2009 due to bad loans when EFCC had to intervene.

"We in CACOL have resolved to monitor and follow this case and other similar cases and take appropriate actions including mass protest any time we see something going wrong again," the statement said.

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