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The
Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has called
on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to suspend Judges indicted of
corruption while they are on trial.

Daily trust reported that The Executive Secretary of the Committee, Professor
Bolaji Owasanoye made this known on Monday during an interactive session
with newsmen in Abuja.
He noted that Judges suspected of complicity in
financial crimes should not preside over cases in court, adding that the
honorable thing to do is for the NJC to give the Judges the opportunity
to defend themselves.
He said: “The reason is because all over the world, if
a Judge is appearing before another court on criminal charges, all
cases before him should be shut.”
In his comment on the matter, the Chairman of the
Committee, Professor Itse Sagey said a corrupt Judge is committing a
crime against humanity.
He said those who have criticized the Department of
State Services (DSS) have not looked at the implication of judicial
corruption; “if an issue comes up, the judge is the ultimate.”
He stated that: “Any judge who is corrupt is
committing a crime against humanity. He destroys our confidence on the
State; it encourages people to resort to self-help.”
Sagey pointed out that: “There are some governors who
did not win election, yet judges gave vent to that. If the judiciary is
corrupt, it is the only body that has the power of life and death over
Nigerians.”
“We need the judiciary, we need an upright judiciary.
If we don’t put the judiciary right, a judiciary with moral authority,
then we have no government,” he added.
He also said the moral authority of past Supreme Court
judges have crashed, noting that: “having fallen, ants can climb it.
When a judge is corrupt he should be treated like one of us.”
Earlier in a presentation of the Committee’s August
2015 to July 2016 report, the Committee Executive Secretary said it
interacted with several anti-corruption agencies including other
relevant agencies of government.
He said the interactions and consultations focused on
proceeds of corruption, assets recovery, reopening of inconclusive or
high profile cases like the Halliburton case.
He added that the Committee also embarked on workshops
for the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act which covered 84
Federal high Courts, 20 FCT High Judges, 72 Judges from all 36 states of
the Federation and 40 magistrates from Lagos and FCT.
He said the workshop focused on Interlocutory
Applications, Bail and Stay of Proceedings, the Trial Process and Powers
of Anti-Corruption Agencies, Asset Recovery for National Development
and Integrity and Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration.
He revealed the establishment of a Presidential
Committee on Asset Recovery, noted that the PACAC developed a framework
for Management and Administration of Recovered Stolen Assets.
He said recognizing that majority of recovered assets
are under interim forfeiture orders and thererequire long term
management strategy before final disposition of cases.
He noted that the existing practice of decentralized
assets management various law enforcement and anti-corruption
agencies has proved ineffective, wasteful and a distraction from their
core mandate.
He also lamented a judicial system that allow
suspected persons to use proceed of corruption to fight the state which
has limited fund to pay expensive legal fees.
He said all assets found to have been tainted stolen public fund should be frozen until the determination of a court.
The Committee decried the use of Nigeria’s fault lines
in countering the fight against corruption which sometimes includes
religious, ethnic and religious divides amongst others.

source: daily trust

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