Nwobike’s acquittal: Lawyers weigh implications for EFCC | Dailytrust

Nwobike’s acquittal: Lawyers weigh implications for EFCC

Lawyers have continued to examine the recent Supreme Court judgement which nullified the conviction and sentence of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike. 

The Supreme Court had on December 20, 2021, overruled the Lagos High Court and Court of Appeal in Lagos and held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lacked the powers to prosecute Nwobike on allegations of attempted bribery and perversion of justice.

In his opinion, Dr. Khrushchev U. Ekwueme noted that the constitutionality of Section 97(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, which aligns with Section 126(1) of the Criminal Code Act and the provision of Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation. 

He further submitted that the EFCC failed to challenge the adverse finding of the lower court that the ‘perversion of justice’ or the offence in Section 97(3) was not contained in any written law and is therefore unconstitutional. 

“In the premises, the decision of the Supreme Court in Dr. Nwobike SAN v. FRN to discharge the appellant has strong constitutional support and the attacks on the Supreme Court on account of this decision are unwarranted,” he said. 

“The major learning from this decision is that the “leave the details-to be-sorted-by-the-courts legislation” in the field of criminal law in Nigeria is likely to be struck down by our courts or convictions based on them are likely to be set aside by our courts.”

Also, Emperor Ogbonna Esq asserted that the verdict has limited the powers of EFCC to prosecute allegations of financial offences within the states. 

“Thus the EFCC, by the judgment in the case in Dr. Joseph Nwobika SAN VS Federal Republic of Nigeria, can no longer hide under sections 12 to 18, and Section 46 of the EFCC Amended Act 2004, to prosecute all kinds of cases whether emanating from the state or federal government, as its powers are regulated by the global action against corruption as regulated by the United Nations conventions which Nigeria signed,” he said.

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