Barely a week after the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, ordered the establishment of a dedicated Payment and Card Crime Unit in the Nigeria Police, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has solicited the support of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Muhammad, in curbing fraud in the nation’s payments system.
Leading the members of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) and some members of the Bank to the CJN’s office recently, Deputy Governor, Operations, Suleiman Barau, said the forum recognized the judiciary as a strategic partner in stemming electronic fraud.
Barau who noted the enactment of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015, solicited the partnership of the judiciary in setting up of a platform of engagement between Judges of courts and the Financial Industry for the purpose of identifying skill gaps. The CBN Deputy Governor also sought for collaboration in working on an action plan to work on identified skill gaps, building knowledge and deepening capacity of the judiciary as well as setting-up of dedicated courts that will adjudicate on banking and financial matters.
Responding, the CJN said although their focus had shifted towards a more conciliatory approach to dispute resolution, most Superior Courts in the Country, including the Supreme Court, had enacted practice directions on serious crimes, including money laundering and fraud, which should see cases being fast tracked for trial and determination.
He stressed that, as part of their contribution to check fraud, the Supreme Court had given directives for priority to criminal matters especially at the Appeal and the Supreme courts, an action which translates to speedy adjudication of such cases.
Also contributing, a Justice of the Supreme Court, Walter Adoghe, said problems with fraud cases mainly arose outside the courts, adding that prosecutors in particular needed to do their work well by helping to tender impeccable evidences and presenting materials that would lead to conviction.
Speaking further, Adoghe attributed the delays in dispensation of justice to high number of counts of charges for, noting that too many counts often sent bad signals as they often took months to sort out.
The Justices of the Supreme Court also took advantage of the meeting to seek clarifications on some of the Bank’s policies and initiatives including the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) for federal government’s revenue generating agencies; the Bank Verification Number (BVN); naira devaluation, among others.
Some members of Barau’s team included the Director, Banking and Payments System of the Bank, Dipo Fatokun, who is also the Chairman Steering Committee of the NeFF; Ibrahim Mu’azu, Director, Corporate Communications, and Tokunbo Martins, Director, Banking Supervision at the CBN.