Chima Emmanuel Nnaji is a former governorship candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Enugu State. A lawyer by profession, he spoke on the ongoing war against corruption in the country, saying the government will lose more corruption cases in court because they lack content.
What is your take on the anti-corruption war being waged by this administration against the backdrop of the cases lost by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently?
I have been very clear about my position in the corruption war.
There is no way you can be fighting against corruption and you are not strategic. First you need to define what corruption really is; that means you are defining your target because there are so many things that will pass for corruption. But it appears this government is more interested in fighting what looks like economic corruption. But economic corruption itself is just a symptom of the main corruption.
When you practice nepotism, that is corruption of the highest order. And that is what is being practiced in this country even as I speak. It gives fillip to economic corruption because in an attempt to survive, water must find its level. If you make legitimate income impossible, then be ready to grapple with illegitimate prospects by people who are minded to descend to that level.
So, you need to define what corruption is before you can define your target; and if you cannot define your target, you cannot determine the best weapon to come against it. That is why we have been having flip-flops in the corruption war.
Now, because there is an attempt by some people to be seen as working hard, they are so frenetic in their attempt to do the job. So when they see N10,000 somewhere they begin to shout, ‘we have seen N10,000’. That’s not how to do it because the issue is that you have to define who the owner is. And if you find the owner, is the source legitimate or illegitimate.
Or are we saying that it is criminal for somebody to have N1 million in his house? Has he laundered it? Has he used it for illegitimate or criminal purposes? So, you must have proven that the source is criminal before you begin to shout. And that means that you have to do your job.
So, because they place the cart before the horse, most of the time, the horse would stumble on the cart and fall. If you don’t do your investigations, when you come to court, the court is interested in processes and procedures. There are rules of evidence. You cannot tell the court to convict someone because you saw him and he looked like an armed robber.
So, whereas they go on media trial to prepare the minds of Nigerians to the guilt of the accused person, it is left for them to prove that the man is guilty in court and not for the man to prove his innocence. So, since our law doesn’t go the same way they are playing in the media, things won’t just work. The security agencies hardly prepare their cases and they naturally lose when they come to court.