FG to Unveil “Holistic And Inclusive” Anti – Corruption Strategy Soon-Adoke



adoke 750Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice,Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke,SAN has revealed that the federal government is “in the process of finalizing a National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS), to fight corruption in the country”.Adoke said this in his address at the opening Ceremony of the at the Seminar On Practical Ways Of Combating Corruption in the Justice Sector, Organised by the Nigerian Bar Association Anti Corruption Commission, at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja today.
The minister said “As you are well aware, the Federal Government is concerned about the deleterious effect of corruption in the polity especially its negative impact on development. To tackle the scourge, a comprehensive legal regime consistent with Nigeria’s obligation as a State Party to the United National Convention against Corruption (UNCAC was put in place as far back as year 2000. This gave rise to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in 2000, the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in 2004 to complement the Code of Conduct Bureau established by the Constitution.
According to Adoke “ This administration has therefore been working assiduously to strengthen these anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective discharge of their statutory mandates. While the different anti-corruption agencies have made a commendable job of fighting corruption in the country, Nigeria’s treaty obligations require her to have a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) that is holistic and inclusive.
“Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Justice in the discharge of its mandate as the focal Ministry under the United Nations Convention against Corruption is in the process of finalizing a National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS), to fight corruption in the country” Adoke said.
“Although, the Draft Strategy received input from the Inter-Agency Task Team, the Civil Society and Nigeria’s development partners, it is my belief that the communiqué and report that will flow from this Seminar would further enrich the document which is expected to be validated at a Stakeholder’s Forum scheduled to take place on 18th of July 2013 before it is sent to the Federal Executive Council for approval as a policy document. This is to give effect to this administration’s zero tolerance for corruption and its commitment to fighting corruption in all its ramifications” ,the minister said.

Read the full text of Adoke’s address below:

ADDRESS BY MR. MOHAMMED BELLO ADOKE, SAN, CFRHonourable Attorney General of the Federation And Minister of Justice At the Opening Ceremony of the at the Seminar On Practical Ways Of Combating Corruption in the Justice Sector, Organised by the Nigerian Bar Association Anti Corruption Commission, at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja1st – 2nd July 2013
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PROTOCOLS……
1. I am honored to have been invited to address this important Seminar on “Practical Ways to Combat Corruption in the Justice Sector in Nigeria”. I congratulate the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Okey Wali, SAN, the Chairman of the NBA Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr. Yusuf Ali, SAN and Members of the Commission for this laudable initiative.
2. By hosting this Two-Day Seminar, the NBA has demonstrated once more, its readiness to partner with the Government and indeed all other stakeholders to address important matters of national concern. I recall that the Association had in the recent past taken other initiatives to tackle other societal problems such as insecurity in the country, as well as making valuable inputs to the on-going review the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
3. As you are well aware, the Federal Government is concerned about the deleterious effect of corruption in the polity especially its negative impact on development. To tackle the scourge, a comprehensive legal regime consistent with Nigeria’s obligation as a State Party to the United National Convention against Corruption (UNCAC was put in place as far back as year 2000. This gave rise to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in 2000, the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in 2004 to complement the Code of Conduct Bureau established by the Constitution.
4. This administration has therefore been working assiduously to strengthen these anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective discharge of their statutory mandates. While the different anti-corruption agencies have made a commendable job of fighting corruption in the country, Nigeria’s treaty obligations require her to have a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) that is holistic and inclusive.
Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Justice in the discharge of its mandate as the focal Ministry under the United Nations Convention against Corruption is in the process of finalizing a National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS), to fight corruption in the country.
5. Although, the Draft Strategy received input from the Inter-Agency Task Team, the Civil Society and Nigeria’s development partners, it is my belief that the communiqué and report that will flow from this Seminar would further enrich the document which is expected to be validated at a Stakeholder’s Forum scheduled to take place on 18th of July 2013 before it is sent to the Federal Executive Council for approval as a policy document. This is to give effect to this administration’s zero tolerance for corruption and its commitment to fighting corruption in all its ramifications.
6. There is no doubt that the legal profession including the judiciary have a sacred duty to help ensure stability within the polity through the promotion of the rule of law, strict guardianship of the Constitution, and even application of the principles of justice. To fulfil these obligations, we must purge ourselves of corrupt and unethical conduct and be above board. Public perception of our role in this regard is very important. It is often said that Justice must not only be done, but, must be manifestly seen to be done!. Only through an upright judiciary and a vibrant bar can we provide a signal to all men and women that while their rights would be protected under the law, no form of impunity or wanton recklessness will be tolerated under the same laws.
7. Corruption in the justice sector has severe detrimental consequences – it erodes the rule of law, denies citizens’ access to fair trial, creates opportunities for unlawful detentions and other human rights violations, undermines economic and social development and fosters an environment of impunity. Corruption reduces the accessibility and quality of justice and the legitimacy of not only justice sector institutions, but also the State in general.
8. By undermining contract enforcement and property rights, corruption in the justice sector can negatively affect much needed investment in developing countries.
Although, the justice sector has a crucial role in promoting and enforcing accountability in the polity, it can also be part of the corruption problem if steps are not taken to check unethical practices, declining professional standards, nepotism, favouritism and a host of other predisposing factors that impact negatively on the performance of the Justice Sector.
9. In my humble opinion, the fundamental value of the judiciary lies in the manner in which it builds a tradition of respect for the law. A corrupt judge disgraces the Bench on which he or she sits and the title that he wears. The incidence of corruption in the judiciary no doubt places an onerous burden on the Heads of Courts and the National Judicial Council to decisively stamp out the scourge. It is indeed gratifying to note that the zero tolerance for corruption mantra of the Chief justice of Nigeria fuses neatly with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s transformation agenda especially its zero tolerance for corruption. Government
welcomes her commitment to sanitizing the judiciary and the reforms being implemented to reinvigorate the Judiciary.
10. I have perused the Programme and noted with satisfaction, the range of issues scheduled for discussion and the eminent personalities chosen to lead the discussions. It is therefore my belief that this will not be another talk shop where every one re-states the challenges we are confronting, but falls short on solutions.
In my view, practical measures entail efficiency and certainty in the enforcement of rules or the law. Here, we are referring to timelines and objective standards. Where lawyers and judges are well guided on standards on what to do in given situations and how soon action has to be taken, it reduces the propensity for the abuse of discretion and graft. More importantly, it enables clear cases of deviance to be identified and appropriate penalties meted out.
11. This approach largely informed the elaboration of the Code of Conduct for Prosecutors by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation. The Code of Conduct for Prosecutors has been articulated to ensure that prosecutors observe the highest professional and ethical standards in the discharge of their prosecutorial duties, as well as, imbibe best practices drawn from other jurisdictions to guarantee fair conduct of trials. The Guidelines for Prosecutors, which is in the final stages of completion, will complement the Code of Conduct for Prosecutors.
Ultimately, our desire is to ensure efficient and effective prosecutions, conducted with the highest possible professional and ethical standards. It is our expectation that the official Bar should play a prominent role in this renewed drive to reform and refocus the justice sector.
12. As far as legal practitioners are concerned, our rules of professional conduct mandates the NBA to investigate complaints against Legal Practitioners and refer appropriate cases to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee. What has constantly been of concern to many is the volume of unresolved complaints that have been referred to these bodies (i.e. NBA and the Disciplinary Committee) while standards decline rapidly and the affected practitioners perpetuate their unprofessional activities with nonchalance. I am convinced that the time is ripe for us to give more responsibilities to the local branches of the NBA and that the Rules
should be amended to enable the initiation of an investigation in the absence of a petition. Lawyers have been convicted of fraud or indicted in several administrative hearings in the past, yet we must wait for a petition before the LPDC can act! This is clearly absurd.
13. It also conforms to reason and best practice to suspend certain rights and privileges of a lawyer against whom a complaint has been instituted and is pending until the disposition of such cases particularly where they border on a crime. This will send the right signals and would serve as a check any member of the profession bent on dragging its reputation and integrity to the mud.
14. In conclusion, permit me once more to congratulate the organizers of this event and to express the readiness of my office and the Federal Government to take forward the practical suggestions proffered by this gathering.
15. I wish you all a fruitful meeting.

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