By Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja –
In furtherance of its mandate, the National Judicial Council (NJC) committee on monitoring of alleged corruption cases before the court has resolved to actively engage prosecutorial bodies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The committee known as Corruption Financial Crimes Cases Trials Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) has also received 2,306 ongoing alleged corruption cases that are now receiving attention from the four sub-committees it had been divided into.
The sub-committees are Practice Directions, Training, Feedback as well as Engagement and Awareness; they were constituted at the meeting of the anti-graft panel, under the leadership of the chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd).
A statement issued yesterday by the office of the director of Information in the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, noted that the committee has 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.
According to the NJC, 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.
Accordingly, 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 alleged cases, Zone B 347 cases, while Zone C has 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, Justice 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 is imperative that other critical stakeholders buy into the mission of the body, even as it 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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