HURILAWS calls for reform of EFCC functions

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By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos.
Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) has declared support for the positions taken by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the President of the Nigerian Law Association (NBA) on the restructuring of the functions of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
While the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN) plans to establish a National Prosecuting Agency, NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud called for a debate on the propriety of the EFCC investigating and prosecuting financial crimes at the same time.
HURILAWS describes both initiatives as “needs to rejig the EFCC and other crime fighting institutions to perform optimally,”  and measures taken to  enhance “the efficacy of the war against corruption in Nigeria.”
It said thar where corruption is endemic in in Nigeria strong institutions are critical to achieve success.
“It is in this context that the debate on the propriety of the EFCC investigating and prosecuting financial crimes at the same time is appropriate,” a press release signed by two officials of HURILAWS, Dr Olisa Agbakoba SAN and  Collins Okeke, Programme Officer, stated.
HURILAWS claimed that its position is supported by international best practices and the need to build the capacity of the EFCC to enable it deliver on its core mandate of investigating financial crimes.
“The international best practices,” HURILAWS explained, “is that one agency investigates, another prosecutes and the court adjudicates.”
It pointed out that EFCC in its current is overworked, and therefore, will not efficiently deliver on investigation and prosecution.
“Whilst we have no objection with EFCC investigating or the courts adjudicating, we believe the powers to prosecute should be vested in an independent highly resourced prosecuting agency,” HURILAWS argued.
It appreciated the work done by EFCC since it was established in year 2003.

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