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Special anti-corruption courts deliver 324 judgements in 6 months

The Special Anti-Corruption Courts constituted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, in November 2017 to handle corruption and financial crimes cases in the country have delivered 324 judgements.

The Special courts also struck out 12 cases and reserved 62 cases for judgement in the last six months.
The Director, Information of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr Soji Oye, disclosed this development in a statement made available on Sunday in Abuja.

He added that the special courts were established to assist the traditional courts in the speedy trial of corruption and financial crimes cases.

According to Oye, the figure formed parts of the report card of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trials Monitoring Committee, (COTRIMCO) made available to the council.

He said that the committee, headed by Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, has, in the last six months crisscrossed the country to monitor and ensure compliance with the directive of the CJN to ensure speedy dispensation of the cases.

Prior to the formation of the committee, the CJN had directed the heads of court, at a Special Session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, to designate special courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crime cases.

Upon receipt of the lists, the committee divided itself into three sub-committees to cater for the easy monitoring and evaluation of the said cases in the different zones of the country as follows:
Zone A: Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Zone B: Northern Zone.
Zone C: Southern Zone.

It is instructive to note that in the total number of 324 judgements delivered, the Supreme Court, in Zone A, delivered 52 judgements and reserved seven cases for judgement from the list of 125 cases pending before it, leaving an outstanding number of 73 cases.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, within the period, also disposed off 74 appeals and reserved 11 for judgement from the list of 137 cases in its docket.

The Federal High Court delivered two judgements from the 91 pending cases before it, while the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory likewise delivered three judgements and reserve one case for judgement, thereby leaving an outstanding number of 178 cases pending.

In Zone B, Northern Zone, 62 judgements were delivered by the six Court of Appeal Divisions, 19 Federal High Court Divisions and 19 High Courts of various Northern States from the total number of 425 cases pending in the Zone, while 12 cases were struck out.

From the 12 cases struck out, five are from the Court of Appeal and seven from High Courts of three states.

The designated courts in Zone C (Southern Zone), have delivered judgements in 131 out of the 952 corruption and financial crime cases on-going at the various courts and reserved 43 cases for judgements.

From the total number of judgements delivered in the zone, the Federal High Court delivered seven judgements out of a total of 304 cases pending before it; while the High Courts of 17 states delivered 124 cases from the 524 on-going in their various courts.

The Court of Appeal in the zone has reserved 31 out of 121 appeals pending in the court for judgement.

The Federal High Court, on its part, reserved three cases for judgement while the various State High Courts in the zone have reserved nine cases for judgement.

The statement added that the committee will continue the exercise after the courts’ vacation.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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