June 17, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

Africa's Media Giant

EFCC says more designated judges solution to delay trials

Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, says designation of more judges to corruption cases will curtail the delays in the prosecution of cases.

By Cecilia Ologunagba
Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, says designation of more judges to corruption cases will curtail the delays in the prosecution of cases.

Bawa, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York, said that many corruption cases were being investigated while others were at different stages of prosecution.

He, however, noted that there were some factors that had been hindering speedy disposition of the cases.

The spate of frivolous and unwarranted adjournments at the instances of the defence for the purpose of stalling proceedings had been a concern in certain quarters.

Bawa said some of the factors hindering quick disposition of corruption cases included the high volume of cases being assigned to grossly inadequate judges.

The EFCC boss also said there were issues with the procedure laws that needed to be straightened.

He stressed the necessity for more designated judges as provided for in the EFCC Establishment Act and the need for the Bar to improve on how they sanction erring members.

He said the current procedural laws, Evidence Act and EFCC Establishment Act already provided for the designation of special judges to handle cases.

“What we are pushing for within the same umbrella of the court system is more judges; let us have more judges designated to handle EFCC matters,’’ Bawa suggested.

The EFCC chairman decried the challenges being faced by the judges, saying some of them had heavy caseload that impeded trials in a timely manner.

“Some judges are handling so many cases; some judges are having 500 cases; how will you expect such to be doing day to day trial?

He assured that there was no sacred cows as far as the anti-graft war in Nigeria was concerned.

The EFCC under former acting chairman, lbrahim Magu, had welcomed the directive of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), retired Justice Walter Onnoghen, to heads of divisions of courts to establish special anti-corruption courts across the country.

The commission had described the development then as a right step in the right direction, “with the potentials of curtailing the unnecessary delays in the prosecution of corruption cases”. (NAN)

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