The media trial and persecution of members of the opposition party and their sympathizers in the war against corruption is worrisome. Fortunately, the courts are living up the expectation of the ordinary Nigerian in ensuring that justice prevails.
The Federal High Court in Lagos recently vacated its order which froze the Skye Bank account of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. In a ruling, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, set aside the ‘No-Debit Order’, which the EFCC had earlier placed on the account on allegations that the $5.9m found in it was proceeds of crime. The judge upheld the contention of Patience’s lawyer, that his client’s account was unlawfully frozen by the EFCC.
A High Court of the Federal Capital in Apo, Abuja, also struck out six charges involving alleged N1.97bn fraud preferred against a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, by the Federal Government.
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, dismissed all the 18 counts, including gratification charges preferred against Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court and his wife Olubowale. Justice Jude Okeke discharged and acquitted defendants in a ruling upholding the respective no-case submissions filed by the defendants.
It’s time the prosecutorial agencies realise that suspicion however strong cannot sustain a conviction. It is trite law that no matter how strong the suspicion is, it cannot take the place of legal proof.
Some Senior Advocates and critics blame law enforcement and the prosecutorial agencies for shoddy investigations before trial. Although the trend of failure of high-profile cases being handled by the anti-graft agencies may be due to official negligence and lack of inter-agency cooperation. No doubt the incompetence of law enforcement agents bothers on their credentials. Most of them got the job and earned their promotion, not on merit but on nepotism.
No one is talking about corruption at all levels in the public service sector. It is no secret that you need to bribe before getting the attention of the personal employed to attend to you. Lawclinic believes that a new model of moral and social orientation is needed to checkmate corruption in Nigeria.
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