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Lawyer calls for creation of special anti-corruption court for speedy trials

Falana said trying people accused of financial crimes at regular courts would unnecessarily prolong their cases and give room for undeserved bails.

Femi Falana

Falana said trying people accused of financial crimes at regular courts would unnecessarily prolong their cases and give room for undeserved bails and ridiculous adjournments.

He made the call on Thursday, March 31, at a Round discussion on “Winning the War Against Corruption” organised by the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos.

“Right now, the regular courts are subjecting corruption and drug related cases to frivolous adjournments instead of hearing them day by day as stipulated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015," Falana said.

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“As if that is not enough, the suspects are being granted bail in their own recognition or other ridiculously liberal terms by trial judges notwithstanding the gravity of the offences allegedly committed by them.

“Some other judges are granting interlocutory or perpetual injunctions to restrain the anti-graft agencies and the police from arresting, investigating and prosecuting exposed persons,” he said.

According to him, the few cases that have been filed in court under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are at the trial stage in the High Courts.

“Having regard to the congestion of cases in the High Courts, there is no indication that majority of the corruption cases will be concluded before 2019.

“Even if the defendants are convicted, the cases will be pursued up to the Supreme Court. If the trend continues, some of the cases will not be concluded in the next 10 years,'' he said.

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Falana said the special courts should be empowered to hear and conclude corruption cases within 180 days, adding that appeals arising from the decisions of the court should be heard and determined within three months the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

The special court, he said, does not require an amendment of the constitution but an establishment through an Act of the National Assembly.

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