African Press Association

Surprise appeal to ICC to probe Nigeria graft

Nigeria court

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – AMID a string of high-profile court rulings in corruption prone Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation wants such cased to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said as a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, Nigeria should also consider drawing from the “expertise, experience, and international best practices” of the court to complement the mandates and powers of local anti-corruption agencies and judiciary.

“The latest setbacks in the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases show the need for effective enforcement measures to weed out, expose, and punish grand corruption in the country,” said SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale.

He said referring large-scale corruption cases to the ICC would in the “short-medium term” improve deterrence, and at the minimum demonstrate “a symbolic commitment to confront grand corruption head on.”

Anticorruption agencies have suffered blows in recent weeks.

Last week, a Federal High Court in Lagos issued an order unfreezing the Skye account of a former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in November 2016 filed an application before the court seeking an order freezing the

The commission had contended that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The account is said to harbour the sum of $US5,8 million.

Justice Abulazeez Anka of a Federal High Court in Lagos vacated a freeze order on the account of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, after initially ordering a temporary forfeiture of N75 million found in his Guarantee Trust Bank account.

Further, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory discharged a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja of all 18-count charges of fraud brought against him, his wife and a senior lawyer.

Analysts nonetheless argue SERAP’s letter to Buhari is inconsequential as the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

– CAJ News