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Delay in judicial processes our greatest challenge – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that the long delay in the trial of suspects being handled by the commission in court…

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that the long delay in the trial of suspects being handled by the commission in court was the greatest challenge it was facing.‎

The commission also admitted that although the federal government has been funding it but that it needed better funding to be able to carry out its responsibilities among a huge population of 170 million, hence it added that government alone cannot fund the agency.

Addressing journalists during an interactive session in Enugu Tuesday, Spokesman for the commission and Head of Media, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren said the agency recorded 126 convictions in 2014 but bemoaned the fact that endless delay in court was a major obstacle and challenge facing the agency.
“ The most important challenge as far as far as we are concerned is the problem we are having with the courts. That is the number one challenge that the commission faces; where you are bogged down with delays in court; you cannot make progress in that regard. As I speak to you, there are cases that we took to court way back in 2007, and they are still dragging on in the court,” said the EFCC spokesman, who quickly added: “ And the defence counsels are always eager to file frivolous applications just to deay the matter. Most of them (defendants) have the resources and the best Senior Advocates in the country to cause such problem.”
On the former governors who are facing trial on account alleged corruption, Uwujaren said the commission took some of such ex-governors to court since 2007 but regretted that some of the cases have not yet gone to any reasonable level in the prosecution. “In some of them, we have gone to the Supreme Court twice on preliminary issues – that is to determine whether there is jurisdiction or not ; and whether the charge is a primefacia case or not. Some of them have gone to Supreme Court arguing this out,” he lamented.
Although the former Chief Justice of the country, Justice Aloma Murktar tried her best to fast-track the process of handling cases in court, Uwujaren said the challenge is still existing in the system. “So the trial in court is a challenge,” he re-stated.
Besides, he listed inadequate funding as another challenge facing the anti-graft agency, and called for better funding of the organization to empower it function more effectively and efficiently. “Because EFCC is a small organization but we are expected to cover a population of 170 million and that calls for a challenge of funding. Government alone cannot even fund EFCC. That’s the reason development partners also chip in something once in a while to help us. So we need adequate funding to be able to meet this challenge,” he said.
Uwujaren also hinted on the governors and ministers as well as other public officials who were possibly going to answer some questions from the EFCC. “ We have a good number of highly exposed persons that include ministers, governors and top ranking officials of government that are still being investigated by the commission. Naming names at this stage will jeopardize investigation. So we are not going to mention names. All I will tell you is that a number of them are under investigation and once we conclude those investigations, you get to know the identities of those who are involved,” he assured.

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