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Police barred from prosecuting cases, Malami declares



The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has declared that policemen have been barred by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, from prosecuting cases because they are not trained lawyers.

According to Malami, Section 106 of the Act has virtually transferred the responsibility for the prosecution of all criminal matters to the Federal Ministry of Justice by expressly prohibiting prosecution by policemen who are not trained lawyers.

In line with the provison of the ACJA, the AGF said his office has taken over about 8000 case files from the Nigeria Police Force for effective prosecution.

The minister stated this at the ongoing 56th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, taking place in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Malami also frowned at the way courts of coordinate jurisdiction have been dishing out conflicting judgments on same issues by the same parties, adding that the situation is capable of eroding the confidence of Nigerians in the judicial process.

Consequently, the AGF called on the judiciary to transparently use its powers as enshrined in Section 6(6)(c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), adding that judges must exercise their powers in ways that would protect the overall national interests and ensure the predictability of the law.

He said: “Multiplicity of counter judgement and orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the same subject matter by the same parties does not encourage the desired confidence building in the judicial process.”

Read also: Militants warn FG against heeding MEND’s call to release Okah brothers

On the fight against corruption, the minister said government has recorded some successes, while it is committed to the observance of the rule of law in the prosecution of indicted persons

Malami also lamented the absence of streamlined legislations to govern assets seizure, recovered funds and their management. This situation, he said, has made some foreign entities to variously insist on monitoring the use of funds repatriated to the country in ways that threaten the sovereignty of the nation.

“It is to cure the above defects that the present administration took steps to re-transmit the bill for the establishment of the ‘Proceeds of Crime Agency’ (POCA) to the National Assembly for re-consideration and eventual passage into law. The bill has become very important in order to enable Nigeria meet international standards in the recovery of stolen assets.”

According to him, the POCA would ensure coordination and proper management of assets recovered from those suspected or convicted of embezzling public funds.

By Timothy Enietan-Matthews

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