The quest for diligent prosecution of financial crime and corruption case received a boost recently with a workshop for prosecutors and investigators drawn from the main anti -graft agencies in Nigeria. The workshop which was organized by the British Department for International Development, DFID and Justice For All in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission attracted participants from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
The high point of the two week course with the theme, Senior Financial and Anti-Corruption Investigative Techniques, was a moot trial presided by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court.
According to Mr. Chris Mathers, one of the facilitators of the workshop, the training was intended to train, mentor and offer investigative and court testimony techniques to the trainees. "We are training them on new forensic technique, information technology, investigative techniques, procedural court testimony and international cooperation."
For Ayo Olowonihi, Commandant EFCC Academy, the training could not have come at a better time. "Our objective is to marry the twin assignment of investigation with that of prosecution which has the same objective." He decried the seeming tension in relationships between investigators and prosecutors and the negative backlash for successful prosecution.
Secretary to the Commission, Emmanuel Akomaye, who witnessed the moot session alongside the Director of the Nigeria financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, said that the training would expose participants to international best practices in criminal prosecution. "This is basically to enhance capacity to the trainees to appreciate intricacies associated with criminal prosecution process to improve on the quality of our work at the courts", he stated.
One of the trainees, Ibrahim Musa, a lawyer with the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB says the training will enhanced the relationships between lawyers and investigators. "It has enhanced our relationship with investigators. There have been conflicts but we have been taught that we must have a smooth relationship if we must succeed." Musa said.