Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nigeria, Akin Olujimi, on Friday explained why the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), continue to lose corruption cases in court.
He explained that the ugly trend was due to lack of thorough investigation.
Olujimi noted that the fight against corruption in Nigeria would remain shallow if anti-graft and security agencies only rush to court to satisfy Nigerians thirst for conviction.
Speaking in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the former AGF insisted that lack of thorough investigation has led to anti-graft and security agencies presenting insufficient evidence in court.
Olujimi also urged Nigerians not to expect hurried judgements when corruption cases were brought before the courts.
He said, “From 2003 till today, even though the EFCC, ICPC and police make arrests and take people to court, corruption still seems to be on the front burner, and is fighting back.
“As practitioners of the law, we have come to know that investigation of cases is not thorough. The judge was not there when the offence was allegedly committed and can only rely on the evidence produced by the prosecution.
“So, if that evidence cannot sustain the charge, the judge releases the accused. It is therefore very important for the EFCC, ICPC to ensure that they carry out a thorough investigation and there is no need for them to rush to court just to please the public.
“The public would want the judge to convict the accused person in one or two weeks. It doesn’t work like that anywhere in the world.
“The UK, US may trail the suspect for a year before they make an arrest. Before they make an arrest, they would have gathered all evidence, such that the lawyers would guide the police so as to gather the necessary evidence to sustain the charge.
“In Nigeria, it is only the police, EFCC that carries out their investigation alone without carrying along the prosecution, and so, there are gaps in the investigation, which the defence counsel exploits to his advantage.
“The public needs to know that the procedure for trial in court does not move as rapidly as they think, except where an accused person pleads guilty.
“The prosecution may be presenting his case for a year and defence has not started because he has many witnesses. The judge taking the case also has other cases to attend to.
“So, we have to be patient because there is a procedure that has to be followed and by this, we will begin to have better results in the prosecution of corruption cases.”