MOTION ON THE UNDUE DRAMATISATION OF THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA -Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North)

THIS SENATE:

ACKNOWLEDGES that corruption is a major governance challenge in Nigeria, a huge disincentive to the development of Nigeria and one of the greatest enemies of the Nigerian nation.

AWARE that corruption in Nigeria is a cankerworm that has deeply embedded itself into the fabrics of the nation and has created a system of cronyism which discourages enterprise and merit, enthrones mediocrity, compromises the moral fibre of the society, undermines time-honoured values and spreads poverty.

ACKNOWLEDGES that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has made the fight against corruption in Nigeria a cardinal pillar of his government and the President has demonstrated an unprecedented political will for a successful prosecution of the war in order to ensure that the resources of the Country are utilized wholly for the development, security and well-being of the country and its people.

LENDS its total support and partnership to the fight against corruption in Nigeria in recognition of the debilitating effects of corruption on the corporate existence of the nation.

CONGRATULATES the Anti-Corruption Agencies, for their determination in exposing and prosecuting cases of corruption in Nigeria.

COMMENDS the whistle-blowing policy of the Federal Government on corruption matters which has led to the discovery of looted funds in unconventional locations across the country.

WORRIED, however, about the Agencies penchant for undue publicity of its body of evidence at the start of investigation.

CONCERNED that this approach tends to compromise the strength of the evidence that could be presented to secure conviction in judicial proceedings.

ALARMED at the string of losses of corruption and financial crimes-related cases in court in the recent past.

DISTURBED that these losses, due mainly to insufficient and, sometimes, shoddy investigation and the presentation of inadequate unconvincing body of evidence has cast a dark cloud on the efforts of the current government to reduce corruptionin Nigeria to the barest minimum.

WORRIED that the recourse of, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in blaming the judiciary whenever it losses its case in court is a failure to acknowledge the Commission’s shortcomings in the build-up to each case.

AWARE that the success or failure of a case involving financial crimes before a court rests on the tripod of quality investigation, competent prosecution and dispassionate application of the law to the facts to reach judgment.

INFORMED that where investigation lacks depth and quality, and the prosecution thereby does not adduce compelling evidence before a Judge to convict, the Judge would have to apply whatever is presented before him in his judgment. Proper investigation is critical to make prosecution easy to secure conviction.

CONVINCED that the EFCC’s emphasis on media trail before the conclusion of investigation weakens its case, and gives the country a bad image in the comity of nations, discouraging the much-needed foreign investments.

INFORMED that Nigeria is not the only country the fights corruption and related crimes with the zeal we do now, but we do not hear of putrid stories of sleazy discoveries put out by the countries’ anti-corruption agencies to every medium of communication to portray the country in bad light.

WORRIED that the sudden discoveries of abandoned loot, at airports, in septic and water tanks, in high-brow apartments and the dramatization of the process of the discovery of these orphaned monies paint the anti-corruption war in unpalatable colours giving the world an impression of a group seeking applause through propaganda and engaging in a circus show to a rather grave national effort.

CONCEREND that rather than conduct itself as a government Law-Enforcement Agency whose personnel carry out their work in a detached, dispassionate and dutiful manner, content at doing an honest day’s job for the nation, the EFCC places too much unnecessary rigour not on investigation but in publicizing what efforts they are making, thereby compromising the foundations of its cases before a judicial process.

THEREFORE RESOLVES TO:

  1. Urge the Anti-Corruption Agencies, especially the EFCC, to de-emphasise propaganda and undue publicity in its operations and concentrate on the competent discharge of its core mandate.
  2. Urge the Anti-Corruption Agencies to strengthen the inherent institutional weaknesses in its operations to ensure the comprehensive success of the anti-corruption war of the present government.