“… In this article, I argue that by statutory and judicial authorities, disclosure of names as well as the amount returned is not just what is legally required but it is also what is in the public interest. By necessary implication, suppression of the identities of those who made returns and have suffered forfeitures, interim and/or final, smacks of undue secrecy, non-transparency, a tendency to use the anti-graft agencies as tools of dispensing favours to attain political control and subjugation. Without doubt, the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to disclose the names of persons who voluntarily returned looted cash and those who have suffered asset forfeitures either on interim or final basis shows that the PMB/APC regime is succumbing to pressure in the fight for probity and transparency in the handling of public affairs. In the context of the fact that the identity of some other persons and the sums they allegedly looted had been disclosed before commencement and conclusion of their trials, the latest attitude of the regime amounts to double standards.
A fundamental point to first establish is that disclosure of the identity of persons who have voluntarily been making returns as well as those who have suffered forfeitures and the value of what they return or forfeited ought to be a product of a systematic process of investigation and prosecution through the judicial system rather than being politicized through agencies of the executive arm of government outside the judicial process. Where arrests are made pursuant to proper investigation and suspects are promptly charged to court, disclosures ought to be made in the ordinary course of prosecution of suspects. In the process of prosecution, relevant agencies of government as well as individuals and organizations would have the opportunity to gather empirical and verifiable information on recovered or forfeited loot based on the processes filed in the court’s Registry …”
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Femi Aborisade, Esq. is a Labor Law & Human Rights Activist.
MONDAY, JUNE 06, 2016. 1:30 a.m. [GMT]