Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay had advised those whose names appeared of the Federal Government’s looters list on what to do.
According to Sagay, “If the subject matter of the allegation feels defamed, he can sue; his right is there to protect himself and get damages. So, the Federal Government has absolutely not erred in law by releasing the list.”
Sagay, a professor of law, spoke in a interview with Sun.
He said: “A trial means that a person is being prosecuted and the case has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“And if that is done, there will be conviction. So, that is not affected. Even if the Federal Government released a certain list of looters, once they are charged to court the Federal Government still has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the persons are actually guilty of the offence.
“In this case, it does not apply because the Federal Government was acting in obedience to a court order made by Justice Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos. So, there is no breach there.
“And it is my view, and I’m making it subject to superior views, that judges are not illiterates or laymen; they are people that are learned in law too.
“So, even if something is published about somebody, which is false, they shouldn’t be prejudiced; they are supposed to be subjective and cool headed enough to look at the evidence before them.
“They are not going to be carried away by what is in the newspapers and say that because it’s in the newspapers, somebody is guilty. I don’t expect a judge who is trained in law and is put in a very responsible position to behave like that. So, I don’t see why the publication should affect them in any way.”
On whether the government and the opposition were not trivialising the issue of corruption in the polity with the claims and counter claims between them following the release of the list, Sagay said, “Well, the PDP people may turn it into a political thing.
“I expect that Nigerians are intelligent enough to know the difference between black and white. If they see any false names being listed just to act as counter attack, they will know.
“I mean I don’t really think Nigerians are like marines who have been out of their country for ages; I don’t know what is happening.
“They know the people who have looted their assets; they know the people who have pauperised the country, who have turned it into a wretched country without any funds or resources such that the Federal Government is now struggling to reinstate it as a functioning state.
“Nigerians know that; so, nobody can becloud the atmosphere by just releasing names in revenge.”