Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Wednesday, criticized attorneys for encouraging graft and money laundering.
He claimed that judges indulge attorneys who file such applications while granting injunctions that prevent anti-graft organizations from carrying out their duties.
Owasanoye also spoke on How corruption fuels insecurity and bad governance: The role of lawyers in tackling corrupt practices in Nigeria at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference at the Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, Lagos.Also, he scrutinized the judiciary for its part in allowing corruption and money laundering to grow.
Owasanoye pointed out that lawyers act as middlemen for suspects in most money laundering and corruption cases.
He cited a case under investigation during which the money involved was traced to a lawyer’s account.
“When we got to the account, the looted money has been further transferred to so many accounts in an effort to frustrate investigation,” he said.
In the case of courts, the ICPC Chairman said they issue orders stopping anti-corruption agencies from investigating and making arrests.
“The biggest culprits are senior lawyers and it is a matter of regret that the NBA is not doing anything about it,” he lamented.
Chairman, Civil Society Against Corruption, Olanrewaju Suraju, agreed with Owasanoye, saying some senior lawyers were clogs in the wheel of justices.
Some, he said, do not defend the rule of law.
“They are agents of money laundering and they undermine the legal profession.
“These lawyers allow the corruption of judicial officers and judges to the extent that some lawyers are abused by court clerks,” he said.