Law News
Immunity clause, others impeding anti-graft war – SAN
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, has said the continuous retention of the immunity clause in the 1999 Constitution ‎and the use of interlocutory injunctions are major impediments to the effective prosecution of high profile financial crimes in the country.
Obla stated this during a lecture on the “Prosecution of Corruption Cases in Nigeria” at the 2014/2015 valedictory session for 135 graduating law students of the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, and the official presentation of a book, “Justitia Journal” in honour of Senator Bob Effiong in Benin, on Saturday.
The lawyer, who quoted the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crim‎e, said an estimated “$400 billion had been plundered from Nigeria’s coffers since it obtained independence in 1960, and most of these monies remained un-recovered” due to the protection placed on the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors, among other prosecutorial challenges.
The guest speaker added that other challenges such as interlocutory injunctions and “legislative inertia” were responsible for the weak implementation of anti-graft laws, such as the ‎Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act (2004), Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (2004) and the recently enacted Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015.
He said, “Section 308(1) of the 1999 Constitution puts restrictions on either proceedings, arrest or imprisonment or even compelling of appearance by process of ‎court against them. These restrictions make it impossible to arrest or prosecute these officials until after their tenures, when more often than not, the illicit funds or the assets have either been dissipated or sufficiently laundered.”
Obla, therefore, ‎called for the repeal of the clause as well as the engagement of highly skilled and resourceful prosecution counsels in other to improve the nation’s criminal justice system.
Speaking on the book, Senator Bob, who is also the Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Benin, said the publication was a compilation of legal essays and a personal contribution to the growth of the legal profession.
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