The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has condemned senior lawyers who are involved in aiding and abetting corruption across the country.
The centre also alleged that such lawyers carry out their nefarious activities by colluding with publicly-exposed persons to shortchange the nation and pervert the course of justice, simply because of their insatiable appetite for money.
In a press release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Mledia and Publications, Otunuga Adegboyega, on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, he stated: “The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC) Mr Ibrahim Magu has just revealed one of the ways through which many lawyers across the country, aid politicians in perpetrating corruption and evasion of justice.”
According to the CACOL boss: “…EFCC was very much aware of how these public office holders use notable lawyers to launder their loot abroad through many companies that serve as fronts. On several occasions, a politician, who may be a council chairman, governor or a minister will give spurious briefs to any of such lawyers and pay him huge sums of cash upfront as legal fees just to enable them divert and dispose of the proceeds of crime in their possession. Considering the technical know-how of these lawyers and by virtue of their professional calling, it is convenient for them to cook up these schemes and sometimes escape the prying eyes of the anti-graft agency.
“However, you could imagine what manner of statutory or professional function anybody could perform that could attractpayment of N1.7b as professional fees in a depressed economy like our own.”
The CACOL boss further stated: “…Some patrioticsenior lawyers like Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) have made similar revelations of how they were offered billions of Naira to criminally funnel state funds through private accounts and fronts which they refused.
“One of these fraudulent lawyers whose identity the EFCC has chosen to keep secret for now was said to have further received over N300m as legal charges from a South-South governor for election petition matters and made over three billion N3.7b as a turnover in a single year but refused to even pay tax on all these illicit earnings.
According to him: “The anti-graft czar cited many other mind-boggling examples of lawyers who assisted state actors to fleece the public of their funds and devise means of still keeping most, if not all of such funds without payment of necessary tax returns.
“From all indications, members of the bar and bench would need to play a very pivotal and patriotic role, if the fight against corruption is to yield positive and everlasting dividends to Nigeria. This is because of their privileged and strategic position as a veritable force in the temple of justice. It is also incumbent on the EFCC to continue to beam its searchlight on these conduit pipesfor diversion of public funds and diligently compile records to deal with such fraudsters in order to serve as a veritable deterrent to others.”