The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR, has stated the willingness of the Commission to partner with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in order to improve on anti-corruption activities.
Prof. Owasanoye made this known when officials of JICA and the International Criminal Police (INTERPOL) paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters on Monday.
He added that the Commission always looks forward to engaging in mutually beneficial relationship that would improve the productivity and outcome of investigations and prosecution of corruption matters.
The ICPC boss revealed that the need and focus of the Commission in the proposed collaboration were capacity building on investigation of digital assets, beneficial ownership tracking, asset tracing and recovery in line with global practices as it concerns financial money laundering and provision of digital infrastructure to fast track the investigation of corruption cases.
“For anti-corruption agencies, the biggest role to play is to prepare to investigate and to bring justice in a fair, efficient and professional manner. ICPC is very much interested in building the capacity of its prosecutors and investigators especially with regard to money laundering and financial crime. We need to build their capacity very rapidly because a lot of the evidence and cases demand skills in these areas especially how to use the evidence effectively in court,” he explained.
He further urged JICA to consider training Judges through the National Judicial Institute (NJI) for better understanding of international best practices in line with improving prosecution of cases in Nigeria.
“I hope this project includes building the capacity of our judges, because if you train the prosecutors and investigators without training the Judiciary, the outcome will not be effective. There is need to train the adjudicators to understand what is being presented before them and to recognize that it as a crime and not business”, he added.
The ICPC Chairman made it known that the essence of the needs highlighted is to mitigate some of the challenges faced during investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.
Earlier in his remarks, the head of the delegation and Director of JICA, Mr. Chigiru Yamashita, commended ICPC for its effort in tackling corruption. Yamashita said that the proposed project seeks to tackle corruption in areas of money laundering, asset recovery and terrorism financing.
He further said that the programme seeks to target anti-corruption agencies and the Police and get their input in designing the proposed project.
“We appreciate the work of the Commission in fighting corruption. The proposed project is geared towards combating corruption and promoting good governance. We are here to get your concept on how to design the project in areas of capacity building related to strengthening international cooperation, asset recovery, money laundering and many more”, Mr. Yamashita reiterated.
On his part, the representative of INTERPOL, Mr. Adewale Ogundele said the proposed project is expected to train staff of anti-corruption agencies on their needs and focus. The trainees would then take turns to train other staff of their respective agencies.