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'EFCC has reduced Corrupt Practices' -Justice Mukhtar, NBA, Others

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Eminent stakeholders in the Nigerian judicial system have praised the evolution of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with a verdict that the anti-graft agency has reduced corrupt practices in the country.

The commendation was given on Tuesday June 14, 2011 at the public presentation of the “Economic Crimes Law Report” and an Investor's Handbook to mark the Commission's eight year anniversary in Abuja. At the event, Justice  Aloma Mukhtar of the Supreme Court,  President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Joseph Daudu SAN , Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr Tahir Mamman, Chief Judge of the federal capital territory, FCT Justice Hassan Lawal Gumi  and other stakeholders agreed in their submissions that the Commission has succeeded in reducing corrupt practices in Nigeria.

 Justice Mukhtar who was chairman of the occasion said that the nation has witnessed a gradual but systematic decline in the incidence of corrupt practices through the efforts of the EFCC . “Whereas hitherto, public funds are misappropriated with impunity, there is growing understanding of its negative impact. Most importantly, the cliché that EFCC is watching has continued to gain grounds. There has been a gradual reduction in corrupt practices that were hitherto accepted and taken for granted”, she said.

She rated the EFCC high in performance indicators  stressing that the Commission has done very well in spite of so many constraining factors. “Commentators on the EFCC tend to be astounded when faced with the performance indicators by the Commission  despite the relatively harsh operating terrain. It has grown, to become the premier anti-corruption agency in Africa and indeed the level of recoveries it has made is arguably unparalleled in the history of any agency in the world”

 In the same vein, President of the Nigerian Bar Association,  Mr Joseph Dawodu SAN, commended the EFCC for its relentless efforts in curbing the menace of  corrupt practices in Nigeria. “ The EFCC is a success. For all that Mrs Farida Waziri has achieved within her three years tenure, you will agree with me that she has done well. I have gone within the scope of the objective  of the EFCC, it is not a departure from its fundamental objective which is the reduction of financial crime and economic corruption”.

 The EFCC Chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri, while  explaining the rationale behind the publication of the first ever Economic Crime Law Reports,  said that  it was conceived as part of the effort to provide reference material for legal practitioners , the business community; law students and indeed the general public. “Importantly also, some of the judgments contain definitive pronouncements on recondite issues of law as they pertain to corruption and economic crime. The reports  are therefore special in the sense that they are dedicated to a subject of law which has not been widely and vigorously litigated upon as it is today”, she said.

 Various commentators on the pioneering initiatives of the EFCC in publishing the Economic Crimes Law Report said that the Commission, by such an effort,  has shown its seriousness and commitment to its assigned mandate.

Dr. Tahir Mamman, Director General of the Nigerian Law School and the Chairman, Editorial Board of the Economic Crimes Law Report said that: “Undoubtedly, this is an invaluable publication which will help counsel and guide the various courts spread across the country, who have to interpret and apply the new law on economic crimes with new circumstances and having title or no precedent to fall back on. With this publication, judges and lawyers will have a ready resource to draw from.   The cases reported covered decisions of all hierarchy of superior courts which range from the High Courts, the Court Appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria and fundamental issues which include the powers of the Commission.”

 Justice Adebukola Banjoko , who represented the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Terrirtory, Justice Lawal Gumi ,  said that “As committed shareholders in the fight against corruption,  the High Court of the FCT sees the advent of this Law Report as a welcome development.  It will no doubt promote consistency in judgment and rulings and it will provide a veritable reference point for Judges, Lawyers and students alike on the concentration of specialized issues.  We hope that this report will soon translate into electronic law reporting for quicker on-the-spot reference for Judges”

Also at the event, another publication, “Doing Business in Nigeria: An Investor's Handbook”, authored by Mrs Farida Waziri was launched. The publication, provides insightful and helpful details about the organizational and infrastructural resources needed by investors to be able to make success of their investment in the local economy. Waziri's effort in authoring the book was lauded by the cream of eminent Nigerians that graced the occasion.

Some of the distinguished Nigerians at the occasion are:  Justice Aloma Mukhtar,  Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr Tahir Mamman;   Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria: Dr. Kingsley Moghalu;  Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin;  Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN;  Hon. Aliyu Ahman Pategi, who represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, board members of the EFCC, and Management staff of the EFCC  among others.