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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kalu SAN to EFCC: Custodial sentence is an aberration

Kalu SAN to EFCC: Custodial sentence is an aberration

Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN)

A former Attorney General of Abia State, Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN), has cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against detaining suspects before conclusion of investigation. He said that it was an aberration.

The former university lecturer, who stated this in an exclusive interview with New Telegraph, said it was the contemplation of the constitution, that a suspect be arraigned in Court immediately arrest. According to him,”Custodial sentence” could only be awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon arraignment.

It was his view that seizing of international passports or any other valid document, was enough to stop those being investigated from escaping justice. “I personally (as a liberalist) do not believe that, if a man has embezzled money, he should be put in custody, ahead of the trial.

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I also do not believe, having been involved in the teaching of criminal law at the university level, that a person should be arrested ahead of an investigation. “It is total investigation that should lead to an arrest. And that’s why you find the timeline within the constitution.

You arrest a man, take him to the nearest court. That is what our constitution says. “And, for that reason, I am not going to speak in support of EFCC awarding custodial sentence privately, before a court of law pronounces”, Kalu said.

He further observed that many suspects, who were being investigated on criminal allegations, had surrendered themselves, an indication that they were ready to face trial.

His words: “There are people, who have been incarcerated for three, four years while awaiting trial, or while undergoing trial. There are many ways of ensuring that a suspect, who is arrested on allegation of corruption, shows up to take his trial.

In ninety or eighty per cent, or in successful percentage of the numbers, you find that people are showing up to stand trial. “We don’t have a high number of cases, who have fled, or who are refugees from justice.

So, if you take a man’s passport, for instance, you prevent him from going anywhere outside this country. If you have seized somebody’s international passport, or any other valid document of travel, hold it.                                                                 

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