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Sunday, 18 November 2012 00:00
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Speed up case against former NAICOM officials ––Activist

A human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Austin Agu, has appealed to the judiciary to speed up the fraud cases against the former Commissioner for Insurance, Chief Emmanuel Chukwulozie and the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance (Finance and Administration), five years after it was instituted. 

He made the appeal in a statement, saying that a situation where government officials accused of fraud and misapplication of funds are denied the opportunity to continue with their lives for upward of five years without any serious prosecution does not speak well of the justice system in the country.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), acting on the petitions filed by the former Minister of State for Finance, Dr (Mrs) Nenadi Usman, commenced prosecution of the three top officers of NAICOM following their suspension from office by the Federal Government.

Chukwulozie is standing trial alongside the former Deputy Commissioner for Insurance (Finance and Administration), Mrs Ogungbe. 

They were accused of spending N170 million of public funds without any budgetary provision. He noted that the case against the officers were instituted in 2007 and that five years after, there was no sign of serious prosecution going on, adding that each time the cases comes up in court for hearing, it was adjourned on flimsy excuses by the prosecution.

Agu regretted that while the case continued, the accused have been suffering untold hardships as a result of being deprived of a means of livelihood, because according to him, the accused cannot secure any other job after losing their jobs in the commission with the case still on in court.

He, therefore, appealed to the judiciary to discharge and acquit the officers if the prosecution is not ready to come up with concrete evidence against them so that they could continue with their normal lives.

“I have followed this fraud case with keen interest since it was instituted by the EFCC over five years ago.  Each time the case is called up, the prosecution would fail to produce a key witness or ask for adjournment on flimsy excuses,” he said.

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