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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Falana SAN Applauds CJN For Creating Special Court For Corruption Cases

Falana SAN Applauds CJN For Creating Special Court For Corruption Cases

Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN),has applauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on his directives to all heads of courts in Nigeria to create special courts for the exclusive trial of corruption cases.

This the Learned Silk described as a welcoming development.

READ ALSO : Onnoghen Orders Heads Of Courts To Create Special Courts For Corruption Cases 

Falana disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in support of the move by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to create special courts for corruption and financial crimes.

According to him “As part of anti corruptiom policy of the Mohammadu Buhari administration an Executive Bill for the establishment of a special court clothed with exclusive jurisdiction to try corruption cases was submitted to the National Assembly.”

He said “Although it was submitted over a year ago the federal legislators have not deemed it fit to pass the crucial bill into law for reasons best known to them. Hence corruption cases have been subjected to inordinate delays in our courts which are congested with many other cases.

However, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen has intervened in a decisive manner by issuing a Directive to all heads of courts in Nigeria to create special courts for the exclusive trial of corruption cases.”

READ ALSO : Don’t abuse SAN rank,‎‎ CJN tells Keyamo, Oke, 29 others 

“The Chief Justice deserves commendation for the radical initiative. No doubt, the timely intervention of the Chief Justice will go a long way to speed up the trial of corruption cases in all our courts,” he said.

To make a success of the Directive the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Chief Judges of the States and the Federal Capital Territory should be directed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria to issue Practice Directions to accelerate the determination of corruption cases.

In addition, the Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals) Practice Directions 2013; Court of Appeal (Criminal Appeals) Practice Directions 2013 and Court of Appeal (Fast Track) Practice Directions 2014 as well as the Federal High Court Practice Directions 2013 issued by the Heads of the respective courts should be put to use as they are designed to give priority to the trial and appeals arising from cases of corruption, money laundering, terrorism, rape and kidnapping and human trafficking.

To obviate undue delay in the determination of corruption cases the Practice Directions have made special provision for the service of processes on parties by electronic mail addresses, facsimile number and GSM Telephone number or any other available mode of communication.

READ ALSO :  Buhari Meets Cjn Onnoghen Behind Closed Doors

According to him “Even though the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act with respect to the abolition of stay of proceedings in criminal trials in all federal courts some defence counsel have devised new dilatory tactics including the practice of subjecting each prosecution witness to cross examination lasting for 20 days or more by asking irrelevant questions and sending junior lawyers to court to ask for adjournment to allow senior counsel in chambers to personally handle the cross examination of prosecution witnesses.”

READ ALSO :  Fight judicial corruption, Body of SANs tells acting CJN

Speaking further he added that “Trial courts should stop such delay tactics which are programmed to defeat the letter and spirit of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

“Finally, defence counsel who conspire with their clients to frustrate the prosecution of corruption cases should be made to pay puinitive costs while not more than 3 lawyers should appear in court for any of the parties in corruption cases,” Falana SAN added.


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