No more dismissal of corruption cases without trial – CJN

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Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Mahmud
Mohammed

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief
Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud
Mohammed, and other stakeholders, on
Monday jointly spoke against corruption and
identified the roles of the judiciary and other
institutions in the fight against the scourge
in the country.

Against this background, the CJN said the
judiciary would no longer dismiss cases of
corruption against high- profile persons
without trial.
The CJN said the judiciary had put a stop to
giving verdicts that exonerated high-profile
citizens accused of corruption without
undergoing trial.

Justice Mohammed said this amid calls by
President Buhari and other stakeholders, on
the judiciary to join the Federal
Government’s efforts to rid the country of
corruption.
The President called on the judiciary to put
its house in order, tackle judicial corruption,
be impartial and politically-neutral, remove
causes of delays in adjudication of cases
and stop tolerating the dilatory tactics of
defence lawyers that prolonged high- profile
corruption cases.
The President, the CJN and others including
the Attorney General of the Federation and
Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami,
the Chairman, Presidential Advisory
Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse
Sagay (SAN), among others spoke at the
opening ceremony of an ‘International
Workshop on the Judiciary and Fight against
Corruption.’
The two-day event was jointly-organised by
the National Judicial Institute and the Sagay-
led PACAC and it was with the theme, ‘The
Roles of Judges in the Fight Against
Corruption:
Sagay, who had earlier spoken at the event,
had identified four reasons for the
“unconcluded-trial syndrome” that had kept
the corruption cases against about 15 ex-
governors in court since 2007 to include,
“the reluctance or failure of the judiciary to
take control of their own courts and to
exercise their powers firmly and decisively.”
But the CJN in a veiled response to Sagay,
while delivering his speech, said one of the
reasons the cases against the politically-
exposed persons had remained in the
court’s dockets was because of lack of will
by government to get them prosecuted.
He said, “I must emphasise that the fact that
these cases still remain on our case list was
because of lack of will on the part of
government to have these cases prosecuted.
“Also, as corresponding action from the
judiciary, we are determined not to strike out
or dismiss the cases or discharge and
acquit accused persons without trial.
“That is why these cases remain on the list
because of virile determination to have them
prosecuted when the will to do so arises
such as now.”
The CJN said since 2013, various levels of
court in the country had “initiated and
introduced Practice Directions on
Kidnapping, Corruption and other Serious
Offences, that provides framework for the
fast-tracking of major crimes and corruption
cases.”
He added, “The issue of undue delay by
technicality, which hitherto plagued the
criminal justice system, has also been
addressed by the enactment of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Act,
2015.”
He urged “all parties to proceedings to avail
themselves of the innovations introduced by
the Act in order to ensure that delay
becomes obsolete in our courts.”
He assured Nigerians that the judiciary
would continue to play its role in the fight
against corruption, adding that due
punishment would be meted out to anyone
found guilty.
Reiterating the role of diligent investigation
in the successful prosecution of corruption
cases, the CJN commended the acting
Chairman of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, in that
regard.
President Buhari said his administration
made the war against corruption one of its
priorities in order to restore the economy
and build a new Nigeria.

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