Osinbajo seeks review of legal system to deter malicious allegations
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for the review of the country’s legal system to ensure that those who made wild allegations against those perceived to be fighting corruption are brought to book and deter from carrying out their dirty jobs.
Osinbajo in a speech on Tuesday said in recent times there has been an upsurge in outrageous allegations against persons perceived to be fighting corruption by paid agents.
He said such unscrupulous paid agents usually used social media to peddle lies, knowing that the wheel of the nations’ judicial system grand slowly and the possibility that those who are maligned may not be willing to pursue litigation.
“The thing that we must take note of is that corruption fights back. And it is fighting back and it has the resources to do so. In recent times, one of the chief ways that we are seeing more frequently is the use of unscrupulous individuals who are paid to use social media platforms to make outrageous allegations against persons perceived to be fighting corruption.
“The technique is not new, the idea is to tie everybody with the same tar so that you cannot recognize the truly corrupt or the truly corrupt activity, and the genuine whistle-blowing is discredited as a result. And because our court system is slow, they count on the possibility that these victims may not pursue litigation or prosecution: you must devise a new legal strategy to ensure that this dirty trick not only fails but is penalized.”
He also called for the protection of whistleblowers and removal of the veil over secret ownership of companies to discourage people from using it to commit crime and perpetuate corruption.
He said anonymous ownership of companies must be discouraged while noting that though secret ownership of companies “are not always illegal, nevertheless secrecy provides a convenient cover for criminality and corruption”.
“For us in the developing world and especially in Africa, breaking the wall of secret corporate ownership is crucial because secrecy around corporate ownership is implicated in our underdevelopment. Although anonymous companies are not always illegal, nevertheless secrecy provides a convenient cover for criminality and corruption. “Our experience in Nigeria as in other developing countries is that anonymous corporate ownership covers a multitude of sins including conflict of interests, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and even terrorism financing.” He added, “Secondly, we must protect, even more, whistle-blowers – persons who come forward with information against corruption. We must protect those who are ready to fight against corruption and who are prepared to do so without necessarily disclosing their identities and even those who are ready to disclose their identities.