Plea bargain will reduce financial crime, says prof.

Amidst public out-cry against “Plea Bargain” in the dispensation of criminal justice in Nigeria a professor of law and former commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology in Imo State, Prof. Uba Nnabue, has appealed to Nigerians to remain calm as the act could reduce the incidence of financial crime and wanton looting of the national treasury.
Prof. Nnabue made the submission penultimate weekend while speaking to Christian Voice in Owerri.
He was of the view that if those adjudged guilty of financial crime could accept to pay back, either in parts or the total sum stole, Nigeria would recover billions of naira that could bail her out of the present economic mess, adding that if national offenders and treasury looters are compelled to return their loots, continuous looting of commonwealth would be a thing of the past.
The former Dean, Faculty of Law, Imo State University 9IMSU), Owerri who fielded questions on other national issues however advocated for severe sanctions against any offender who makes false declaration of his or her loot.
On whether “Plea Bargain” is part of administration of criminal justice in Nigeria, the Professor of jurisprudence said that the answer is emphatic “No”, adding that the process is alien to Nigerian legal system.
He said that “Plea Bargain” is a legal transplant from other countries, adding that it is paramount in American criminal law. He said that the system allows mutual agreement between a person who is adjudged guilty of financial crime, and his or her persecution whereby the one adjudged guilty agrees to return or pay back all monies or property stolen in order to be granted bail.
On how this system found its way into the Nigerian legal procedure, Prof. Nnabue said that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Act of 2004. Section 14. Sub-section 2 introduced the act as a way of recovering billions of stolen monies and property to the Nigerian state.
Reminded that the system might encourage more financial fraud, looting and false declaration of stolen monies and property, the former Dean said that honest investigation would reveal the truth, adding that if anybody is found wanting, stiffer penalty would apply.
Asked, if as a law officer whether he could subscribe to “Plea Bargain”, the legal jurist said that he might not subscribe to “Plea Bargain”, but quick to add that if a court of competent jurisdiction up holds it as a rule of law there is nothing he can do.
Asked to make input in the current constitutional and electoral reforms, he said that he advocates for a single term of five years for a president and a governor in Nigeria.
According to him, one single term of five years will bring the best or the worst in a sitting president or governor, and after that he or she quits office. The arrangement according to him will also reduce the cost of re-election which often is too expensive than the first term election.
On whether he resigned or was dropped as a commissioner in the Owelle Rochas Okorocha is rescue mission government, Prof. Nnabue said that he neither resigned nor dropped as a commissioner but he left when his tenure elapsed.
Asked to comment on the rescue mission government, he said that he was overwhelmed by the infrastructural development in the state.
On the agony and hardship of Imo pensioners who are said to be dying in drove due to non-payment of their pensions and gratuities, Prof. Nnabue said that every government has its own style of administration.

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