A Civil Society Organisation, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption – MIIVOC has lauded the judgment of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, discharging Nigeria’s former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye of corruption charges, describing it as justice at last.
In a Statement personally signed by MIVOC Executive Director, Dr. Walter Duru and made available to newsmen, the group reiterated its earlier position that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission- EFCC was on a vendetta mission against the ex-Head of Service, describing his trial as political.
He however called for the immediate sack of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over what he described as waste of tax payers’ money on witch-hunt.
“A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, Tuesday, discharged and acquitted Nigeria’s former Head of Service, Mr. Steve Oronsaye of all seven charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission- EFCC.”
“Ruling in a “no case submission”, presiding Judge, Justice Goodluck O. Olasumbo upheld the position of the defense Counsel that Oronsaye has no case to answer as the EFCC failed to show evidence that he breached any law.”
“In the words of the Judge, ‘not a shred of proof has been provided by the EFCC on all the seven (7) charges brought against the accused. EFCC has not brought any case for him to answer. The evidences are vague and incompetent in law. I cannot but agree with the defense counsel on this. EFCC has not proved that he offended any law. There is no evidence linking him with any of the charges.”
“Today, more than ever before, I became more ashamed of the country’s anti-graft agencies and indeed the anti-corruption war. The time has come for the sanctity of the EFCC to be restored. It is time to sanitize the EFCC. The acting Chairman shows crass incompetence daily. They waste tax payers’ money in pursuit of perceived political enemies. The only way the anti-graft war will move forward and get the buy-in of Nigerians is for the anti-graft agencies themselves to be sanitized. You can imagine what would have been the fate of an ordinary Nigerian if faced with the fate of Mr. Oronsaye. Assuming the person does not have the resources to hire good lawyers to defend them, they will just be jailed innocently? God forbid! The only time Nigerians will take the anti-corruption war seriously is when the anti-graft agencies are purged of corruption, sanitized and credible people placed in positions of leadership.”
It would be recalled that the EFCC was severally accused by MIIVOC of witch-hunting the former head of service.
Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) had alleged that Oronsaye’s ordeals started following his recommendation for the merger of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and his strong support for autonomy for the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), a Department in the EFCC. NFIU is believed to be the highest source of foreign donor support to the EFCC.