Abubakar Malami (SANs)
Hon. Minister of Justice
Fed Ministry of Justice
QUESTIONS UPON QUESTIONS FOR OUR JUSTICE MINISTRY
Looking at the corruption fight that is going on, it appears there is no sense of direction, no set out plans and no modus operandi.
It is about 18 months into this administration nobody is in jail as yet-all because courts at all levels have refused/neglected to exercised their powers seemingly after compromising themselves.
Because, how come even at the apex level the NJC panel choose to give a soft landing to a judge by just putting her further promotion onhold instead of outright sanctions like sacking her. These panelists compromised because they hoped to earn similar soft landing when they are eventually under a similar probe. By their decision they became accomplices in crime by effectively aiding and abetting the crime. How come the justice ministry was silent over such misconducts? Is it a case of dog never eats dogs? Or SANS are never expected to sanction SANS, nor judges to sanction co-judges? How come when courts are invaded by (80 SANS) counsels and such courts refuse to invoke their contempt powers to disband such outrageous crowd appearing as counsel in one suit. Even without uttering a word – such crowdy presence amounts to intimidation of the court. O yes-clients and their counsels have a right to appear, in court, equally the courts also have every right to reduce such audience to a bearable number – after all by practice rules, it is only one counsel that can speak/address the court at once. I cannot imagine (QC) 80 Queen’s Counsels in a London court appearing to defend an accused person, just in one suit. Morally, these set of SANS have nothing good to offer our younger lawyers, and the courts condoning such intimidations lose their honour on this alter of corruption.
How come the NJC, NBA, and the justice ministry are jointly silent over such misconducts in judicial corridors? Are they all compromised? And by whom? How come that our regulating agencies (NJC NBA, plus justice ministry) jointly failed to challenge and question these improprieties and such unethical behaviors by SANS?
Why do SANS now charge their legal fees in dollars? O yes they are free to choose in what form they get their fees but should their freedom override their spirit of patriotism? May be they are more loyal to money than national interest. Yet our regulatory agencies does not seem to see anything wrong to warrant sanction. In Ibori’s case one defense counsel was properly sanctioned but in Nigeria nobody is ever sanctioned for any misconduct-rather the regulatory agencies prefer to be jointly silent because they are all headed by same branches and leaves of same legal tree. When and who shall cleanse over legal/judicial system? The duty falls on the executive arm (justice military) of Government now in power.
Why do our prosecutors draft wrong charges that would surely fail in courts?? They should know better, why should anybody be charged for money-laundering when in actual fact what he did was to frustrate the war efforts of this country, simply put our big man frustrated our war against Boko Haram by diverting our war money into other purposes-therefore the correct charges should have been for Sabotage and Treason.
Our prosecutors were compromised not to draft a correct charge of Sabotage and Treason. So it is corruption fighting back. Our regulating agencies jointly looked aside when such charges were deliberately brought to court with their approval.
Again in Ibori’s case when our multiple charges were reduced in London-the charges sailed through without hitches or delay. If our prosecuting agencies are overwhelmed with so many cases, then the solution simply lies in employing more hands (if possible retired prosecutors can be recalled on contract basis to handle the surplus awaiting trial cases).
When right charges are framed before a court – trials are fast and easy to adjudicate.
For instance, if the big accused were to be charged for Sabotage and since Treason is not a bailable offence, No lawyer would apply for bail, nor apply for medical treatment abroad. In the absence of such delaying applications trial would be fast. This is like a father is about to cane the son for misconduct and the son (dares) have enough courage to say, “dad please let me go for my launch first, when I come back you can decide whether to flog me or not” and dad concurs. Then of course both dad and son cannot be taken as serious characters. This means that our Government and the courts are not serious fighting corruption. When our courts now entertain such frivolous applications they are fast loosing their credibility. Once it is established that the money he frittered away was actually money meant for war purposes all his defense in the Sabotage and Treason charges would fail. To confirm this argument – remember our most beloved chief in the old western region who was tried far treasonable felony-when it was confirmed that he did actually went to Ghana to merely discuss how to organize the overthrow of a government it was assumed and accepted that the Nigerian Government was the object of that discussion.
It was certainly a mere discussion that was never executed-no arms, were bought nor used-yet he was found guilty. Today money was made available, arms were bought, people are killed daily in war yet our big man was only charged for money laundering, instead of Sabotage and Treason. Our regulating agencies are silent on those that framed such wrong charges. Is it not the duty of our regulating agencies to train, harness, and equip our prosecutors for effective performance? Also equip the courts with standby rules that they can now direct the medical director of the general hospital next to the court to render and give the necessary medical attention/care to the accused person, instead of benefiting foreign doctors, with our hard earned dollars? Our regulating agencies should sit up.
Why are bankers not being charged to count as yet?
To follow section 13 EFCC act, why are bankers who failed to report movement of Billions of money are not charged to court even when the account owners and movers do not earn / own as much as N100,000 (Hundred Thousand Naira) salarywise. Failure to secure compliance with the EFCC law by bankers makes all bankers of all the banks liable. Yet nobody is being charged as at today. Is compromise not taking place? Presently justice ministry is the new blood among our regulating agencies, the NJC is the oldest regulator while the NBA (now badly headed by SANS) forms the 3rd arm of the triangle. It behoves the new blood (justice ministry) to help and lead in the cleansing of our corrupt system nationwide as a positive response to these questions upon questions.