#Officials Siphon Govt Funds Under Cover Of Paying Ransoms –Kwara Commissioner

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Kidnapping for ransom has become a source through which state government funds are siphoned under the pretext that the demands of kidnappers must be met to save lives of victims of the crime, Kwara State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Salman Jawondo (SAN) has said.

Speaking on Monday at the commencement of the 2021/2022 legal year and valedictory court session for retiring judges in Ilorin, Jawondo said it was time to review the obsolete “presumption of innocence” of defendants with respect to some crimes.

He said, “Insecurity in our country is more than challenging as no one can now sleep with two eyes closed. The phenomenon of kidnapping for ransom has transmuted into a lucrative venture sustained by hoodlums with active connivance of unscrupulous persons.

“It has become a veritable source through which state funds are siphoned under the pretext that the demands of the kidnappers must be met to save lives of the victims of the crime.

“The judiciary, as the last hope of the common man, needs to be more on its toes to save us from the menace now eating deep into our flesh.

“I keep wondering why kidnapping cases are taking much time to determine. Honestly, the fact that people who engage in such heinous crimes act in full view of the law justifies the call for the complete overhaul of our criminal justice system, particularly the aspect that deals with the apprehension of criminals, prompt investigation of cases and quick trial.

“I hold the view and with supreme confidence that, now is the time to reconsider/review the obsolete ‘presumption of innocence’ of defendants with respect to some crimes threatening the corporate existence of us as human beings and our right to live in peace.”

Also speaking, a legal icon, Yusuf Ali, called on law enforcement agencies in the country to be more up and doing in fighting crime to save lives and property.

“The government should also embark on use of technology to fight crime, such as kidnapping, banditry etc. For instance, deployment of drones will go a long way to fight criminality in the country,” he said.

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