FG set to revisit Halliburton, other high profile corruption cases, says panel

By Joshua Olalekan, Lagos

The Federal Government will revisit high profile anti-corruption cases that have been stalled, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has stated.

This is just as there will also be a scale up of advocacy against corruption in private sectors and professional associations as part of efforts to fight corruption next year.

Executive Secretary of PACAC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this on Tuesday at a news conference in Lagos to unfold next year’s plans of the panel.

He also reviewed the activities of the committee in the last one year.

According to Owasanoye, PACAC intended to scale up anti-corruption advocacy next year through engagement of civil society organisations, citizens and state and local governments.

On plea bargain, he said: “No government has the capacity to prosecute all manners of offences; that is the reason there is a legal frame work for plea bargain.

“The plea bargain is not a trade off, but has been set up with other guidelines to refrain suspects from perceiving it as an outlet for easy escape.

“The Administration of Criminal Justice Act is meant to resolve the challenges in the criminal justice system; if it is failing, then, it is as a result of implementation.’’

He also stressed the need to?further build the capacities of government ministries, departments and agencies as well as the judiciary, on money laundering and asset recovery.

Owasanoye said that PACAC was making efforts to track high profile cases and also ensure improved application of sanctions.

“We also intend embarking on revisit of some high profile corruption cases like the Halliburton case and see them to a logical conclusion,’’ he said.

He listed public apathy and elite complicity as some of the challenges of PACAC in the past one year.

According to him, poor economy, ineffective application of preventive measures and negative use of constitutional can aid corruption.

The executive secretary called for improved collaboration between all the arms of government in fighting corruption.

A member of PACAC, Prof. Etannibi Alemika, stressed the need to evaluate agencies responsible for the fight against corruption as well as the need to build their capacities.

He urged that Nigerians must learn to give informed reports on cases of corruption.
According to Alemika, journalists and civil society organisations can create more public awareness on the consequences of corruption.

“Nigerians must learn to get the narrative back to behaviour,’’ he said.

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