Ude Jones Udeogu v FRN & Ors no SC. 622C/2019: its implication on fighting financial crime and the way forward

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-05-2020-0087
Publication Date15 February 2021
Pages18-25
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorSirajo Yakubu
Ude Jones Udeogu v FRN & Ors no
SC. 622C/2019: its implication on
f‌ighting f‌inancial crime and the
way forward
Sirajo Yakubu
Faculty of Law, Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to show how f‌ighting f‌inancial crime suffered a setback in Nigeria as a
result of the Supreme Court rulingin an appeal case Ude Jones Udeogu v FR N and Ors no SC. 622C/2019.
Design/methodology/approach This paper is a criticalanalysis of the implication of Supreme Courts
ruling in Ude Udeogu Jones, its implicationto law enforcementseffortinf‌ightingf‌inancial crime and the way
to get around the ruling. The paper adopts qualitativemethods. It is conducted through the analysis of the
ruling and the relevantlaws.
Findings Due to the ruling in UdeUdeogu Jones, Section396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice
Act 2015 is no longer good law. Federal High Court judges elevated to the Court of Appealno longer have
special dispensation to concludecriminal cases they part heard. Furthermore, the ruling is a serious setback
on the law enforcements efforts in f‌ighting corruption. However, the drastic effect of the ruling can be
mitigatedby amending Section 396(7).
Research limitations/implications Because the ruling is very recent, analysis is based on the
relevantenactments and case laws including recent decisionsof the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Originality/value There is no comprehensive workon this ruling. Therefore, this paper adds value to
knowledge as it makes clear the background of the appeal case, as well as the impact of the ruling of the
Supreme Courton f‌ighting f‌inancial crime in Nigeria and the way to get around the ruling.
Keywords Corruption, Financial crime, Money laundering, Criminal trials, Elevated judge
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
In an appeal against the judgement of the Court of Appeal, whichconf‌irmed the judgement
of the Federal High Court dismissing a no case submissionina trial of money laundering
offences, the Supreme Court of Nigeria conf‌irmed the supremacy of the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 above any otherlaw in Nigeria. The Supreme Court ruled
that Section 396(7) of the Administration Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 was
unconstitutional (Ude JonesUdeogu v FRN and Ors No SC. 622C/2019). ACJA, 2015 [Section
396(7)] allows a judge elevated from the Federal High Courtto the Court of Appeal to return
to the Federal High Court to conclude the trial of criminal cases they part heard. It reads
[ACJA, 2015, Section396(7)]:
Notwithstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary, a Judge of the High Court who
has been elevated to the Court of Appeal shall have dispensation to continue to sit as a High Court
Judge only for the purpose of concluding any part-heard criminal matter pending before him at
the time of his elevation and shall conclude the same within a reasonable time[,] provided that this
subsection shall not prevent him from assuming duty as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
JFC
28,1
18
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.28 No. 1, 2021
pp. 18-25
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-05-2020-0087
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/1359-0790.htm

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