Trial of Corruption cases: NJC panel to meet EFCC, ICPC

Nigerian Judges
Nigerian Judges used to illustrate the story

The National Judicial Council, NJC, committee on the monitoring of alleged corruption cases in court has resolved to actively engage prosecutorial bodies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in furtherance of its mandate.

The Committee known as Corruption Financial Crimes Cases Trials Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) has also received 2, 306 on-going alleged corruption cases, which are now receiving attention from the four sub-committees it had been divided into.

The sub-committees are; Practice Directions, Training, Feedback and Engagement and Awareness. They were constituted at the meeting of the anti-graft panel, under the leadership of the chairman, Suleiman Galadima, a retired justice.

The committee also divided the country into three zones for ease of monitoring and evaluation of the said cases.

The Zones are: Zone A, Abuja FCT; Zone B, Northern Zone; and Zone C, Southern Zone.

Chief judges of state divisions who were yet to submit the list of the alleged corruption cases to the committee are also being reminded to do so without delay.

The committee directed its secretary, Gambo Saleh, who is also the council’s secretary, to write the defaulting CJs.

At the last count, Zone A in Abuja has 554 pending cases, Zone B has 347 cases, with Zone C having 1, 405 cases.

The committee, after brainstorming on all the pending alleged corruption and financial crime cases submitted to it by the heads of court that had complied, also indicated that a new Practice Direction would be issued to judges handling the said cases.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, had directed the heads of court to designate courts and judges that will solely handle the on-going trials on daily basis; to fast-track all the pending alleged corruption cases.

The Practice Directions sub-committee has commenced a review of various practice directions by leveraging on both local and foreign comparative jurisdictions to meet global best practice.

The committee said it was imperative that other critical stakeholders buy into the mission of the body, directing that regular updates and advocacy postings on sub-committees’ activities must be a permanent feature of the project.

No date has been fixed for the planned interface with the anti-corruption bodies.

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