Alamieyeiseigha (L) locks hands with Jonathan, who set him free

Only 10 of the 177 grand corruption cases across the country between 2000 and 2017 have resulted in convictions, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said.

Releasing a report on corruption cases in Nigeria and how many of them have been successfully completed by the Federal Government and anti-graft agencies, on Sunday, SERAP listed corrupt present and past public office holders and why the government was finding it hard to convict them.

It also highlighted how the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan pardoned corrupt officials who worked in his cabinet, and how some corrupt officials were given light sentences.

According to SERAP, preliminary objections, interlocutory appeals, ACJA issues and suspicious court orders have contributed to delay in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases. Also listed as causes of delay are immunity, gag orders, legal loopholes, poor prosecution and alleged ill-health.

It was stated that preliminary objections have led to delay of 51 cases while interlocutory appeals have caused a delay of 46 cases.

Also, ACJA issues, suspicious court orders, immunity and gag orders have led to delay of 92, 18, 9 and 13 respectively.

Similarly, legal loopholes were said to have contributed to the delay in prosecuting 19 cases, while poor prosecution and alleged ill-health have caused delay in 29 cases each.

SERAP further stated that between 2000 and 2017, Nigeria has had 177 grand corruption cases across the country; but of the 177, 167 are pending in court while only 10 are convicted.

The accountability organization further stated that seven corrupt officials bought their freedom through plea-bargaining, while three were fully tried and convicted. However, the Supreme Court discharged one of the three that were fully tried.

SERAP, in the report, recalled how Jonathan pardoned late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of a money-laundering charge against him by the EFCC and Chief Olabode George was acquitted by the Supreme Court, while both Mrs Celilia Ibru and Tafa Balogun were given light sentences.

The figures released by SERAP showed the high level of impunity that exists in the country and the inability of the judicial system to prosecute high profile corruption cases in the country.

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