Fed­eral Min­istry of Jus­tice Part­ners, CSLS to train In­ves­ti­ga­tors, Pros­e­cu­tors

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Fed­eral Min­istry of Jus­tice, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Cen­tre for So­cio-Le­gal Stud­ies (CSLS), held a two-day na­tional train­ing of in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who were drawn from the var­i­ous Fed­eral crim­i­nal jus­tice agen­cies in­volved in in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of cases.

The train­ing which held at the La­gos Air­port Ho­tel, Ikeja, from June 26 to 27, 2018, had par­tic­i­pants from anti-cor­rup­tion agen­cies such as the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC), In­de­pen­dent Cor­rupt Prac­tices and Other Re­lated Of­fences Com­mis­sion (ICPC), Na­tional Agency for Pro­hi­bi­tion of Trafficking in Per­sons (NAPTIP), The Nige­ria Po­lice, the Fed­eral Min­istry of Jus­tice, De­part­ment of State Ser­vices, among oth­ers.

Declar­ing the train­ing open, the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the train­ing was nec­es­sary in order to re­duce the rate of loss of high pro­file cases in courts, ma­jorly due to lack of proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Malami, who was rep­re­sented at the train­ing by the Fed­eral Jus­tice Sec­tor Re­form co­or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee (FJSRCC) Sec­re­tary, Mr. Felix Ota-Oko­jie, said there was a gap be­tween in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion, that must be filled.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the in­ves­tiga­tive ca­pac­i­ties of anti-graft agen­cies, must be strength­ened, if the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s anti-graft cru­sade must suc­ceed.

“This sem­i­nar rep­re­sents ef­fort to build syn­ergy and ca­pac­ity of the var­i­ous jus­tice sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­larly in the area of crim­i­nal jus­tice ad­min­is­tra­tion. There can­not be a suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion, with­out a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion. I think this is cen­tral to this sem­i­nar.

“Our ex­pe­ri­ence in this coun­try, has shown that it is that la­cuna be­tween in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion, that is re­spon­si­ble for the not-toosuc­cess­ful cases that we have wit­nessed.

“This has raised cause for con­cern from the pub­lic, as to why the Pros­e­cu­tors are not able to se­cure con­vic­tions in cases that seem to be very ob­vi­ous. This is why we must con­tinue to work, to see how we can bridge that gap, so that both in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion can be ef­fec­tive.

“Stake­hold­ers also need to share ex­pe­ri­ence. This train­ing is also in fur­ther­ance of the Min­istry’s lead­er­ship role, in en­sur­ing that we drive the process of im­ple­ment­ing the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act (ACJA), which if ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented, will ac­tu­ally im­prove crim­i­nal jus­tice in the coun­try”, he added.

CSLS Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Akin­s­eye-Ge­orge, SAN, in his wel­come ad­dress, stressed the need for a greater fo­cus on in­ves­ti­ga­tors’ work, which he said would ne­ces­si­tate the es­tab­lish­ment of min­i­mum stan­dards and guide­lines, and mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of per­for­mance.

Ac­cord­ing to Akin­s­eye-Ge­orge, there is also the need for ac­count­abil­ity for non-per­for­mance and low pro­duc­tiv­ity, pro­vi­sion of in­cen­tives, reg­u­lar train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and re­ward for ex­cep­tional per­for­mances.

“There is no doubt that In­ves­ti­ga­tors per­form a cru­cial func­tion, with­out which crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion is im­pos­si­ble; yet In­ves­ti­ga­tors are of­ten not ad­e­quately catered for in terms of train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“This Sem­i­nar is an at­tempt by our Or­gan­i­sa­tion, not only to pro­vide a train­ing op­por­tu­nity for In­ves­ti­ga­tors, but also to cre­ate an ef­fec­tive plat­form for in­ter­ac­tion amongst In­ves­ti­ga­tors and Pros­e­cu­tors from var­i­ous crim­i­nal jus­tice agen­cies. Be­cause their work is sim­i­lar, an in­ter­ac­tive plat­form as this, will en­hance the shar­ing of knowl­edge and ex­per­tise, build­ing of net­works and strength­en­ing of co-op­er­a­tion amongst In­ves­ti­ga­tors from dif­fer­ent agen­cies, which could only pro­mote bet­ter ser­vice to crim­i­nal jus­tice ad­min­is­tra­tion in the coun­try.

“Those in­ves­ti­gat­ing high pro­file cor­rup­tion cases for ex­am­ple, should be pro­tected, well-re­sourced, and in­su­lated from the cor­rupt­ing in­flu­ence of mon­ey­bags and high pro­file De­fen­dants, who have all the re­sources to in­flu­ence out­come of in­ves­ti­ga­tions”, he said.

The em­i­nent Pro­fes­sor, noted that a re­port re­cently pub­lished by the Na­tional Ju­di­cial Coun­cil, partly blamed the prob­lem of de­lays of crim­i­nal jus­tice ad­min­is­tra­tion on In­ves­ti­ga­tors and Pros­e­cu­tors, ad­ding that, it is ele­men­tary that we can­not have good pros­e­cu­tion with­out proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He how­ever, de­cried ex­ces­sive reliance on con­fes­sional state­ments by In­ves­ti­ga­tors and Pros­e­cu­tors to se­cure con­vic­tions, which he said causes de­lays due to trial-within- tri­als.

“It is wor­ri­some that there is ex­ces­sive reliance on con­fes­sional state­ments by In­ves­ti­ga­tors and Pros­e­cu­tors, to win con­vic­tions. This prac­tice causes de­lays in tri­als, due to trial-within-trial, which may run into years. There­fore, it is per­ti­nent to adopt new in­ves­tiga­tive trends, which lever­age on mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and foren­sics”, Akin­seyeGe­orge said.

La­gos At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Com­mis­sioner for Jus­tice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, urged In­ves­ti­ga­tors to see cor­rup­tion as a crime against hu­man­ity, ad­ding that the Gov­ern­ment must do more to pro­tect those he de­scribed as the first line of de­fence, in the anti-graft war.

“It is of­ten said that, cor­rup­tion is a vic­tim­less crime. Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth; this is be­cause, the stolen re­sources are funds that can be used to re­duce poverty, and im­prove the lives of our peo­ple. In the fight against cor­rup­tion, the great­est peo­ple at risk are Ad­ju­di­ca­tors, Pros­e­cu­tors and In­ves­ti­ga­tors. It would ap­pear that, In­ves­ti­ga­tors run the greater risk, and as such, huge amount of funds must be ded­i­cated for their pro­tec­tion and wel­fare. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are usu­ally the best and bright­est, of any se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tion. They are elite, with the best an­a­lyt­i­cal minds, so I con­sider that you should see your­self as the priv­i­leged few, the peo­ple who are here for this train­ing.

“As In­ves­ti­ga­tors, you are of­ten the first line of de­fence against cor­rup­tion, as you have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to gather nec­es­sary ev­i­dence that will sup­port the ap­pro­pri­ate charges in court. The qual­ity of ev­i­dence you pro­duce there­fore, has tremen­dous ef­fect on the de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute or not, be­cause with­out thor­ough and sound in­ves­ti­ga­tion, chances of suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion is low, ir­re­spec­tive of the skill or ex­pe­ri­ence of the Pros­e­cu­tor. In essence, you all play very im­por­tant roles within your re­spec­tive in­sti­tu­tions, and I en­cour­age you to take this mes­sage to your col­leagues when you re­turn to your place of work. This takes me to the topic I am asked to speak on – “Im­por­tance of sound in­ves­ti­ga­tion of high pro­file cor­rup­tion cases”.

“Cor­rup­tion is re­garded as one of the most dif­fi­cult crimes to in­ves­ti­gate, of­ten be­cause there is no scene of crime, no fin­ger­print, hardly any eye-wit­ness to fol­low up, and the per­pe­tra­tors, es­pe­cially in high pro­file cases, have the fi­nan­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties to hire pro­fes­sion­als to laun­der their cor­rupt pro­ceeds. It is there­fore, es­sen­tial for In­ves­ti­ga­tors across the coun­try, to de­velop a

col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach of shar­ing in­for­ma­tion in the course of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and em­brace sci­en­tific in­tel­li­gence based tech­niques which are tech­nol­ogy driven”, Kazeem said.

The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral in his re­marks, said Gover­nor Ak­in­wumi Am­bode has given ap­proval for the equip­ment of state­ment record­ing rooms in po­lice sta­tions, in com­pli­ance with the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Law of the State, and in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.

“We iden­ti­fied 15 po­lice com­mands, in­clud­ing the State com­mand head­quar­ters, to es­tab­lish

state of the art wit­ness pro­cess­ing rooms with record­ing equip­ment”, he said.

Pa­pers pre­sented at the train­ing which were based mainly on doc­tri­nal re­search in­clude: ‘Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act (ACJA) 2015: Pro­vi­sions for Ex­pe­dit­ing In­ves­ti­ga­tion’ by Pro­fes­sor Yemi Akin­sye-Ge­orge, SAN, ‘The Use of Tech­nol­ogy in In­ves­ti­ga­tion & Im­prov­ing the Ef­fec­tive­ness of Anti-Cor­rup­tion Agen­cies’ by Omolola Quadri, ‘In­ves­ti­gat­ing Stolen As­sets: Prin­ci­ples, Prac­tices, Prob­lems and Lessons from Ju­ris­dic­tions’ by Ke­hinde Ogini, ‘Prin­ci­ples and

Tech­niques of In­ves­ti­ga­tion’ by Chia­maka Nnadika amongst oth­ers.

Among chal­lenges high­lighted by par­tic­i­pants were: use of ob­so­lete in­ves­tiga­tive equip­ment and meth­ods, in­ad­e­quate work­ing fa­cil­i­ties and lo­gis­tics due to poor fund­ing, lack of in­cen­tives, lack of train­ing and ca­pac­ity which leads to in­com­pe­tence, in­ter-agency ri­valry, which re­sults in poor shar­ing of in­for­ma­tion, cor­rup­tion among staff, lack of pub­lic sup­port and ap­a­thy, con­flict­ing laws, lack of foren­sic tools, bu­reau­cratic bot­tle­necks, among oth­ers.

L-R: Chief Suprint­en­dent of Po­lice, Taiwo Ka­sumu rep­re­sent­ing the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, La­gos State At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Com­mis­sioner for Jus­tice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, CSLS Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Akis­eye-Ge­orge, SAN and Sec­re­tary, Fed­eral...

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