Capital Flight: HEDA, Others Petition CJN Onnoghen
Seek activation of Section 52 of ICPC Acts
A collaboration of local and global stakeholders led by the Human Environmental Development Agency (HEDA Resource Centre), have urged the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to publicise and activate the provisions of Section 52 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, (as amended), stressing that the provisions can curb the escalating rise of resources laundering and illicit trans-border assets acquisition.
In a letter addressed to the CJN and signed on behalf of the partnership by the chairman of HEDA, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the forum urged him to use his good office to publicize and activate the provisions of the said Section 52 of the ICPC Act so as to ensure or facilitate a giant leap by the Nigerian Judiciary in the global assault on corruption and corrupt practices.
The letter reads: “Disturbed by the increasing rate cum phenomenal cumulative implications of stolen capital flight from Nigeria in particular and developing countries in general, and the escalating rise in the laundering of resources and illicit trans-border assets acquisition, the HEDA Resource Centre in collaboration with other local and global stakeholders convened a one-day International Conference on tracking and recovery of illicit transactions and proceeds thereof on 13th November, 2018.
“At the said world forum, it was unanimously resolved that a special letter should be written to the Chief justice of Nigeria with a view to drawing the attention of the Number One Judicial Officer of the country and indeed of the largest judiciary in Africa South of the Sahara and North of the River Limpopo to the provisions of Section 52 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act. We hereby do so.
“According to the ICPC Act supra: 52.-(1) When an allegation of corruption or anything purporting to contravene any provision of this Act is made against the President or the Vice-President of Nigeria or against any State Government or Deputy Governor, the Chief Justice of the Federation shall, if satisfied that sufficient cause has been shown upon an application on notice supported by an affidavit setting out the facts on which the allegation is based, authorize an independent counsel (who shall be a legal practitioner of not less than fifteen years standing) to investigate the allegation and make a report of his findings to the National Assembly in the case of the President or Vice-President and to the relevant State House of Assembly in the case of the State Government or the Deputy Governor.
“(2) The Commission shall be enjoined to fully cooperate with such independent counsel and provide all facilities necessary for such independent counsel to carry out his functions.
“Learned Law Lord, the foregoing provisions of the ICPC Act is clearly not in the public domain nor has it been ever utilized by any Nigerian, corporate or unincorporated, whatsoever and howsoever yet it remains a very potent instrumentality for curtailing, if not completely eradicating, theft, kleptocracy, misappropriation and all other forms of corrupt practices prohibited by the various national and international legal instruments against corruption and illicit assets.
“Consequently, the HEDA Resource Centre in concert with other local and global stakeholders hereby beseech your Lordship to urgently and kindly use your good office to publicize and activate the provisions of the said Section 52 of the ICPC Act so as to ensure or facilitate a giant leap by the Nigerian Judiciary in the global assault on corruption and corrupt practices,” the letter reads.