Osinbajo Decries Low Convictions Of High Profile Corruption Cases
BEVERLY HILLS, December 10, (THEWILL) – The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, has bemoaned the delay in court processes which has resulted in the stalling of high profile corruption cases.
He noted that this explains why various anti-corruption agencies could only secure about eight convictions in such high profile cases since 1999, a figure which he noted was too insignificant.
Osinbajo stated this through the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay SAN, at a sensitisation workshop on sections 306 and 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice, ACJ, Act, 2015 and delay of high profile corruption cases in Nigeria.
Sections 306 of the ACJ Act prohibit courts from granting order of stay of proceedings with respect to criminal trial while section 392 of the Act also stipulates that preliminary objection to a charge would only be considered with the substantive case and a ruling delivered on it at the time of the delivery of the judgment in the case.
Before the ACJ Act came into force in May 2015, many high profile corruption cases had been stalled at the level of appellate court owing to various interlocutory appeals filed by defence lawyers.
But decrying the delay tactics often deployed by defence lawyers to frustrate the course of justice in high profile corruption cases, Osinbajo noted that though he was not an advocate for “conviction at all costs in high profile cases,” the law must be followed in all corruption cases either low or high profile.
He said though former President Olusegun Obasanjo identified corruption as “the number one monster devouring Nigeria since 2002,” only about eight high profile cases was concluded with the prosecution successfully securing convictions.
The Vice President pointed out that out of the eight convictions secured one of them was reversed by the Supreme Court on technical grounds.
While the names of the cases in which the eight convictions were secured were not mentioned, it will be recalled that the Supreme Court on December 13, 2013, discharged and acquitted a PDP leader in Lagos State, Chief Bode George, of criminal charges on which he had earlier been convicted by the Lagos High Court and the judgment affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
Osinbajo said: “It is a sad truth that of all the high profile cases filed since 2002 when the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) was established and corruption was first actively identified then by the President, Olusegun Obasanjo, as the number one monster devouring Nigeria, only about eight high profile cases have been concluded with the prosecution successfully gaining convictions from the appropriate courts.”