SERAP urges Buhari to expedite prosecution of high-profile corrupt cases

SERAP urges Buhari to expedite prosecution of high-profile corrupt cases

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), on Sunday, September 27, penned a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the pending corruption cases requiring prosecution.

According to SERAP, the President should “instruct Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to take immediate steps to expeditiously; diligently; effectively; and also fairly prosecute high-profile corruption cases; as well as to publish details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing case files, as well as the status of prosecution of all the cases being handled by his office.”

In the letter dated 26 September 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The authorities’ failure to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high profile corruption cases amounts to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international obligations.

“Continuing failure to prosecute these cases may create the perception of a deliberate effort; to protect those considered to be very influential and powerful.”

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According to the organization: “The fact that these cases have been pending for several years suggests that your government has not carried out its public; constitutional; and international obligations; including the obligations to show that no one is above the law; as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.”

SERAP said: “Public interest demands that high-profile corruption cases are concluded within a reasonable time so that those guilty are punished and the innocent are set free.

“The rule of law and the preservation of democracy also require that the authorities duly proceed in accordance with the law; against every high-profile person suspected of grand corruption; irrespective of where he/she is placed in the political hierarchy.”

The letter, copied to Malami, also reads in part: “SERAP is seriously concerned about the apparent inertia by the authorities to diligently; and also expeditiously prosecute high-profile corruption cases.

“While many of these cases have been dragging before your assumption of office in May 2015; several of the cases have not satisfactorily progressed; contrary to Nigerians’ expectations.

“Our requests are brought in the public interest; and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] particularly section 15[5]; and also Nigeria’s international obligations; including under the UN Convention against Corruption; as well as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption; as well as the rule of law.

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to ensure the diligent; expeditious and effective prosecution of longstanding high-profile corruption cases; including the 103 cases; and the allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile corruption suspects.

“We would be grateful if your government begins to implement the recommended action; and also measures within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.

“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction; the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to pursue prosecution of these longstanding high-profile corruption cases; to their logical conclusion and to regularly report to Nigerians on the progress of prosecution.”

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