Friday, 3 March 2017

Saraki condemns raid on judges’ homes

Five months after the Department of State Service (DSS) carried out sting operations against some justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said it leaves much to be desired.
Bukola Saraki

Represented by Senator Chukwuka Utazi at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee (PACAC), in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President, Saraki also decried the habit of certain agencies of government who refer to the
National Assembly as a den of corruption.

He, particularly, frowned at PACAC which he said engages, deliberately, in smearing the national assembly in order to demonise the legislative arm.

“The fight against corruption must be driven by a well-articulated strategy which must include Nigeria’s political, economic and social systems, with each arm or department of government operating within its jurisdictions and mandates to secure a collective stakeholder stage about the fight.

“Deliberately casting the fight as that of one man, a kind of knight in shining armour, who wrestles with a resisting society, in my humble view, will not secure the desired result,” Saraki said.

The senate president said as a critical stakeholder PACAC should  partner the lawmakers rather than “mount rostrums to say how badly they have performed and how corrupt they are.”

“Indeed, it is counter-productive for PACAC to do so because its mandate of advising should be given across board to all arms and tiers in order to promote the effectiveness of all government institutions and strengthen anti-corruption measures in a comprehensive manner.

“In the same vein, PACAC should not lend itself to supporting extra-legal actions, if the fight against corruption will be sustained and ingrained in the body polity. A situation where PACAC speaks in favour of patently extra-legal means of law enforcement does not bode well for the rule of law,” he said.

Saraki said the end-result of any action of government is as important as the process.

The platforms for fighting corruption should not, themselves, be corrupt or be seen to be corrupted. The recent so-called sting operation by the Department of State Security on the residences of some very senior justices, some without warrants, others without any proof of incriminating body of evidence, leaves much to be desired. That is why we speak of government bodies operating within their mandates.

He said although the National Security Agencies Act of 1986 grants the SSS the powers to act in economic crimes of national security dimension, Section 6 (c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Act of 2004, a latter enactment, vests the power for the co-ordination and enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws and enforcement functions conferred on any other person or authority on the EFCC.

It is even more instructive that by Section 2 (1) (e) of the EFCC Act, the DSS sits on the board of the EFCC and could easily, in their meetings, point out the persons or bodies the EFCC needs to investigate and prosecute backed up by the evidence it had clandestinely gathered.

“That sting operation was a needless violation of our laws and an aberration that democratic society should consider anathema. The EFCC should have been provided the necessary intelligence to execute its mandate if the evidence disclosed a prima-facie case against the Justices,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment