The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has scored the judiciary low in the on-going fight against corruption.
Apart from alleging that the judiciary, as an independent arm of government, was “missing in action”, in the anti-graft efforts of the administration, Sagay further accused the institution of hostility to the cause.
The professor of law made the allegations in his remarks during the 4th African Union (AU) Day of Anti-Corruption, which was held via zoom, and monitored by New Telegraph in Abuja.
The theme of the conference, which was organised by the PACAC, in conjunction with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other relevant agencies in the criminal justice system, was: “Fighting Corruption Through Effective and Efficient Judicial System”.
While commending the executive and legislative arms of government, for what he considered as their records of achievements, he alleged that the judiciary may be lagging behind, in his estimation.
To buttress his claim, Sagay had pointed at what he called the preference for “technical judgements”, over “the justice of the case”.
He said it was auspicious that the judiciary was the focus of this year’s Anti-Corruption Day, even as he expressed the hope that, in the final analysis, the conference will highlight the issues, as well as make recommendations on the way forward.
“The executive…has done exceedingly well. Nearly three thousand people have been convicted in the last five years.
“The Legislature has also done quite well, in terms of the laws it has passed, and to a certain extent, on its supervisory role of implementation of laws. But, there is still some deficiency in this area. There is need to pass the proceeds of crime act, and then the special criminal court act.
“Now, we come to the judiciary, which is at the centre of today’s discussion…I’m not going to go to any other country; I’m going to concentrate on Nigeria. Because, we have very serious problem,” the PACAC Chairman said.
He, however, clarified that his position was without prejudice too many judicial officers, whom he noted, were men of integrity, for him he had absolute regard.