Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

 

A LOST WAR: sequel to The Lost War

A LOST WAR

Corruption is a major economic mainstay in Nigeria and involvement goes right up to the highest echelons of all governments. President Muhammadu Buhari made the war against corruption a primal message on his campaign stops. However, his war against the corruptible trade in fraudulent conduct: embezzlement, over-budgeting, contract-bloating, looting and money laundering (white-collar crimes) is a lost war, ab initio. No high profile conviction has been secured since inception. 

Corruption cartoon | ResearchTurkey.org

In a Galaxy TV interview on December 24, 2017, former NBA President, Olisa Agbakoba SAN, said the EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri (2008-2011), once invited him to join the EFCC prosecution team. He declined. Agbakoba revealed that the looters have billions of cash and ready to pay defense lawyers ₦200 million to delay justice for upwards of ten years. EFCC is ready to pay prosecuting lawyers ₦1.5 million.

Has the Nigerian legislative, executive and judicial branches of government demonstrated a determination to fight corruption? It’s a fait accompli. The fight has not started. All that is going on is posturing despite the defiant posture to the contrary. Buhari’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) including erudite Prof. Itse Sagay; investigating/prosecuting agencies of loot and proceeds of looting cannot stop corruption because it’s endemic and an intensifier of the psyche of Nigerian officialdom and society.

There is no political will to carry through a detribalized, non-ethnic, non-partisan and a nationalistic fervor against the scourge. No government official talks with all the fervor of converts willing to rid Nigeria of corruption. Most of all, corruption is fighting back! The raison d’état is phenomenal.

EFCC statewide offices are in tatters. EFCC offices are uninspiring and do not animate policing confidence in agents involved in economic/financial crimes law enforcement. They look like their tattered cousins – police stations nationwide. Anti-corruption agencies are poorly funded and their agents so poorly paid to investigate immensely wealthy looters oozing so much cash. An EFCC agent investigating a billionaire looter ready to part with the equivalent of the agent’s combined ten-year salary in the minutiae of everyday life is a problem.

The uncooperative attitude of lawmakers and the senate refusing to confirm EFCC acting chairman – the president’s confidence in the man notwithstanding, is another problem. Senators loathe EFCC and this may not be unconnected with EFCC searchlights on them, or the man is incompetent, or both.

The bane of law enforcement against white-collar crimes is the lack of infrastructure – the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., modern custodial cells, electronic surveillance equipment, state-of-the-art forensic laboratories, policing vehicles, appropriate equipment, information and communications technology tools, investigative tools, etc.) The whistle-blowing policy is poorly managed without laid down procedures for determining genuine informant-information and prompt payment of whistle-blowers under strict anonymity.

Corruption cartoon | Vanguard

Non-rebranding of EFCC with a new corporate image – from a beleaguered agency invading suspects’ homes at unholy hours before investigations, and muddling up arrests, to a thoroughbred anti-graft agency undertaking thorough investigations, prosecutions of white-collar crimes and treatment of suspects with respect in line with international best practices in law enforcement. Unprofessional training and orientation of agents, especially with respect to specialized law enforcement against white-collar crimes.

A dearth of systematic examination and research into cases with a formalized inquiry or systematic study and investigation(s) in the wake of allegations or cases pending in courts is evident. Instances of suspects arrested on allegations, paraded and tried before the media (media trials) to signify the ongoing anti-corruption war is against criminal procedure and the principle of “the presumption of innocence”: ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies), which is the principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. Investigate before arrest.

Corruption cartoon | BusinessDay

Non-engagement of highly paid in-house lawyers to handle solicitor work, and outsourced criminal prosecution lawyers to handle legal advocacy by EFCC, considering the immense resources at the disposal of these looters. Special courts have not been dedicated to the anti-corruption war in order to free the regular courts from overloading and constraints associated with justice delivery in Nigeria.

Corruption cartoon | naijagists

Anti-corruption war is selective and the government is unabashed by the provoked furor. Government is reluctant to conduct a no-holds-barred war because it has no equity of treatment. The selective hounding of opposition politicians is inequitable. Corruption must be eradicated within these anti-graft agencies in order to sustain equity. EFCC is not institutionalized. The agency depends on the policing whims and caprices of the boss. Legal and administrative procedures for investigation, arrest, arraignment and prosecution have not been internalized and enforced.

Photo: “Kill Corruption NOT Nigerians” pic | AP

The judiciary which should be the arbiter, umpire and a bulwark in this war is mired in judicial corruption and squirming in a mire of bribery allegations. Adjudications from the bench are long on sleaze and short on legality, even as judicial corruption ravages the bench and Rule of Law takes a backseat. The connection between Rule of Law and the anti-corruption war have not been examined to provide corrective mechanisms for restoring Rule of Law. The criminal-justice architecture is flawed when the Chief Justice of Nigeria is also the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Juxtapose defense lawyers with indigent federal prosecutors and comprehend the nexus between a federal prosecutor who taxied to court to arraign an alleged looter with the looter’s team of SANs chauffeured in American jeeps? It’s an insoluble dilemma of justice. Buhari administration’s zeal for corrective mechanisms must be in tandem with the bar and bench. Is the Nigerian government ready to fight corruption? Like the Afghanistan war against drug trade in opium and heroin (which was the economic mainstay right up to the highest echelons of the local governments in 2016) – unless corrective policies are instituted, and the bench adjudicates on corruption cases without fear or favour, the anti-corruption war is a lost war.

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By: Nnamdi Ebo
The White Paper |
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