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SERAP seeks withdrawal of amnesty bill for looters

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to withdraw a proposed law granting full…

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to withdraw a proposed law granting full amnesty to suspected looters.

In an open letter dated 30 June 2017, addressed to the speaker by its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said it believes that amnesty or other impediments which preclude or indicate unwillingness to provide prompt and fair prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of grand corruption, would violate the principle of good faith under international law.

“SERAP also believes that granting of amnesty to absolve suspected perpetrators of grand corruption from accountability or prevent the full recovery of ill-gotten wealth, violates the right of victims of corruption to an effective remedy. An effective remedy entails access to justice, reparation for the harm suffered as a result of grand corruption, and access to the factual information concerning allegations of corruption.

“If ending impunity for grand corruption is to be considered a fundamental national interest worthy of being furthered, it is crucial to have a strong legal rule to prevent and combat corruption rather than pursue bills that would weaken the fight against corruption. The proposed bill would foster a culture of impunity in which grand corruption becomes the norm, rather than the exception,” the letter read in part.

The letter said the bill target is to foreclose investigations of high-profile corruption cases, and thus negates both Nigerians’ right to know the truth about what happened to their commonwealth, and their right to justice and accountability.

The group said it therefore urged “the speaker to take without delay all necessary measures to withdraw this unnecessary amnesty bill.”

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