The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has thrown its weight behind the call for stakeholders in the justice sector to give the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 a chance to succeed. The call was made on Wednesday by a new Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mohammed Idris while responding to the objection of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against his continued handling of a case pending before his court prior to his elevation to the appellate court.
In a press release signed by Otunuga Adegboyega, Coordinator for Media and Publications on behalf of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership’s (CACOL) Executive Chairman Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated: “The Centre clearly backs the call by Justice Mohammed Idris, hitherto of a Federal High Court before his elevation to Court of Appeal.
According to the CACOL boss: “We recollect that the case in question involves Senator Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North, and two companies that were arraigned by the EFCC before the judge on a charge of fraud amounting to N322m.
“ Whereas the Act defines a partly heard criminal case- that must be finished before a Judge is allowed to finally transfer to another court- as one in which the prosecution has called all its witnesses and closed its case, in Senator Nwaoboboshi’s case, the EFCC had only called two out of its six proposed witnesses.
“It is however, expedient, as Justice Idris noted, that the Act is also dynamic enough to allow for continuation and completion of such cases for the purpose of equity and justice to be served, except the EFCC has any cause to doubt the integrity of the court which we seriously doubt in this instance.”
The CACOL Coordinator added “As a corruption fighting civil society group, we feel strongly that setting a precedence of still transferring a corruption case of this nature, to another court or coordinate jurisdiction that would most likely start the case afresh would not be in the best interest of the anti-Corruption fight, to which we believe EFCC has contributed immensely. We therefore agree with Justice Mohammed Idris, that the ACJA Act is a revolutionary law, meant to address unnecessary delays and deserves the support of our organization and all stakeholders.”
Adeniran continued: “What we should know is what this ACJA is all about and how it affects the Bench, the Bar, the accused and the public in the fight against stealing of public property and wholesome administration of criminal justice.
“We understand that the Act, by its statutory definition and purpose, ‘Provides for the Administration of a criminal justice system which promotes efficient management of: criminal justice institutions; speedy dispensation of justice; protection of the society from crimes and the protection of the rights and interest of the suspect, the defendant and victims.’
“The Act dwells on arrest, bail, and preventive Justice; notification of cause of arrest and rights of a suspect; it prohibits arrest-in-lieu; it defines a modus of executing a search on an arrested person; it provides the modus of search of a place entered or lived in by a suspect sought to be arrested, etc.”
Media Coordinator, CACOL
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