Reps Accuse AGF, EFCC Of Manipulating Course Of Justice In Saraki’s Trial

The House of Representatives on Thursday accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of alleged “manipulation” of justice by reopening the corruption case against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar.

The House noted that Malami and the EFCC had earlier cleared Umar of any wrongdoing in the alleged corruption act involving about N1.8billion.

However, the House said the same AGF and EFCC had made a U-turn recently by filing two corruption charges against Umar before the Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Umar presides over several high-profile corruption cases at the CCT, including the celebrated case involving the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and some top judicial officers.

In a resolution in Abuja, lawmakers condemned the actions of the AGF and the EFCC in the renewed filing of corruption charges against Umar, accusing them of plotting to arm-twist Umar so that he could deliver judgments in a “pre-determined direction” on the cases before him at the CCT.

The Minority Whip of the House, Mr. Yakubu Barde, who moved a motion on the matter, recalled that the same AGF and EFCC had “previously cleared the said Umar of the very same allegations that form the basis of the two-counts (against him).”

He argued that it was not possible for the same judge who was facing corruption trial to preside over other corruption cases, including Saraki’s, and be expected to be fair to all parties.

The motion reads partly, “The House is further concerned that the EFCC had previously issued a statement absolving Justice Umar of any wrongdoing and is now being charged and asked to try the Senate President with the tendency to give an impression that a game is being arranged to meet certain pre-determined result, portraying our legal system as capable of being manipulated, should be of great concern to everyone.”

Maina’s Reinstatement Letter Was Not From My Office – AGF

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has denied having any involvement in the reinstatement of the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

He said the letter giving clear directives on the reinstatement of the former chairman, couldn’t have genuinely emanated from his office.

He made this known when the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the case, commenced hearing on Thursday.

The AGF and the Minister of Justice also alleged that there is an existing pension fraud syndicate made up of politicians, legislators, retired civil servants.

According to them, Maina was part of the syndicate and had a fall out with them and now the group is working hard to ensure that their activities are not exposed.

Present at the hearing were: the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau; the Head of Service, Winifred E. Oyo-Ita; and a representative of the Inspector General of Police.

Maina: AGF Malami Appears Before Senate Committee

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is currently before  the Senate Ad-hoc committee constituted to probe the reinstatement of fugitive former civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina.

The Senate had on October 24 mandated its committees on Establishment, Interior, Anti-corruption and Judiciary to investigate how the ex-pension boss was reinstated and promoted at the Ministry of Interior.

The committee is currently in a closed-door meeting with the AGF.

Details Later


Reps Move To Separate AGF From Justice Minister

The House of Representatives on Tuesday moved to separate the office of Attorney-General of the Federal, AGF, from that of Minister of Justice.
The move followed the second reading of a Bill for an Act to alter the 1999 constitution to introduce the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation separate from the Minister of Justice.
Presenting the Bill, Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), said that if passed, it would emphasise the independence of the AGF’s office and ensure it was not subjected to political consideration.
Mr. Monguno said that separation of the AGF’s office would allow for effective separation of power, adding that the two offices would be given the necessary environment to function optimally.
Mr. Monguno said, “The Attorney-General of the Federation, being the Chief Law Officer is empowered in Section 150 and 195 respectively of the 1999 Constitution to enter nolle prosequi.”
Nolle prosequi is an entry on the record of a legal action that denotes that the prosecutor or plaintiff will proceed no further in an action of suit either as a whole or as to some count or as to one or more of several defendants.
The lawmaker added that, “The power can only be exercised if office is free from any political interference.
“The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is such an office that should be seen to be Independent and not be subjected to some political consideration,

“His appointment should be seen to meet some standard in legal profession.
“The fact (is) that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) performs some quasi judicial functions hence, the need for the office to be separated from the Minister of or Commissioner for Justice.”
According to him, the AGF is the chief law officer of the federation and advises the government whether at the federal or state levels on matters relating to law generally.
“Whereas, the office of the minister of or commissioner for justice is political in nature, if read alongside other ministers or commissioners.
Mr. Monguno further advised that the office of the AGF should be based on merit and competence and the National Judicial Council be involved.
“It should be shielded from the vicissitudes of political influence”.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, referred the bill to the special adhoc committee on constitutional review for further legislative action.

AGF Defends SSS Arrest Of Judges

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, explained on Tuesday that what happened in relation to the arrest of some judges by the Department of State Services, DSS, was merely an investigation of criminal allegations.

Malami said no one is immune from investigation under the Nigerian law, adding that it was the duty of relevant investigating agencies to perform their constitutional functions, once allegation of criminality was raised.

The DSS last weekend arrested some judges over allegations of corruption and perversion of Justice. The judges were released on bail Sunday night based on personal recognition.

The AGF spoke in Abuja after inaugurating the “country expert review committee for the second cycle of the review of implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC.”

He said, “The fundamental consideration is whether there is an allegation of the commission of a crime; whether there is the need for investigation, and whether the relevant provisions of the law and indeed, all circumstances, as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) are put into consideration in our conduct as regard the fight against corruption.

“The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to fight corruption. Corruption is a crime and nobody, regardless of how highly placed, is exempted as far as issues that border on crimes and criminalities are concerned.

“The limited exceptions as we know constitutionally, are the exceptions of immunity. And to the best of my knowledge those exceptions do not apply to investigation.

“For those that are conferred with the immunity, the right to investigate has not been taken away constitutionally.

“So, I think the framework and the circumstances within which we are operating are clearly whether there exists the right to investigate or not, and whether the action borders on criminality.

“Once crimes and criminality are concerned, nobody is an exception. I think the undertone should be exclusively the consideration of the existence of a prima facie case; existence of reasonable grounds for suspicion of commission of a crime.

“And if there are, no member of the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive can definitely be exempted from investigation.I think where we are now is the point of investigation and that is what is taking place.”

ECOWAS Court Orders FG To Pay Dasuki N15m For Damages

…Declares his arrest and continued detention illegal

The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared the arrest and continued detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki unlawful, arbitrary and a violation of his right to liberty.

The Court said it was wrong for the Federal Government to continue to detain him over undisclosed offences after he had been granted bail by three deferment courts before which he had been arraigned.

The court, in a unanimous judgment of a three-man panel, read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke awarded N15 million damages against the Federal Government and ordered it to immediately release him and his properties that were confiscated by state’s agents.

The court, which held that the Nigerian state was unable to substantiate its continued detention of Dasuki, also faulted the search of his houses in Abuja and Sokoto without valid search warrant.

The judgment was on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed earlier this year by Dasuki.

FG Names Ken Nnamani Head Of Electoral Reforms Committee

The Federal Government has constituted what the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation called a “constitutional and electoral reforms committee”.

A statement issued by Salihu Isah, the Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the committee was set up to reform the electoral process.

The committee will be inaugurated on Tuesday October 4, 2016 at the HAGF’s Conference Room, Abuja by 11am.

The statement said the 24-member strong committee would be chaired by the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, while Dr. Mamman Lawal of Bayero University, Kano is the Secretary

‎Other members of the committee are Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, Dr. Clement Nwankwo, Chief A.C Ude and Mr. Tahir, Director, Legal Drafting, Federal Ministry of Justice, amongst others.

The statement said: “The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, will on Tuesday October 4, 2016 inaugurate a committee on Constitutional and Electoral Reform at the HAGF’s Conference Room, Abuja by 11am.

“The committee is expected to Review Electoral environment, laws and experiences from recent elections conducted in Nigeria and make Recommendations to strengthen and achieve the conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria.”

Abia Confusion: Wait For Courts, AGF Tells Ikpeazu, Ogah

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, says his attention has been drawn “to lies being peddled and disseminated by a cross-section of Nigerians and the various media platforms that he is behind the legal logjam over the Abia state governorship seat.”
A statement by his Special Adviser, Salihu Isah, said of particular concern was those who had peddled “ill-natured rumours with a view to misinforming Nigerians that the office and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria gave directives to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, declaring him Governor-Elect.”‎

“He has definitely not taken any action either by spoken words or body language as far as Abia governorship crisis is concerned,” it said.

“I wish to, therefore, on behalf of my principal declare that these rumours are untrue and a figment of the imagination of those pushing these selfish, shameless and irredeemable lies into public space which only translates to partisanship on the side of its purveyors.

“As far as the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is concerned, the constitutional powers for the legal opinion of his office have not been invoked on this issue. So far, nobody has approached him to proffer any legal opinion to it.

“As a strong believer in the rule of law, it is his belief that the law should naturally take its cause. The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation will not be dragged into this controversy and mind-games being played out by the various legal minds and spin doctors of both camps at this point.

“The parties involved should await the decision of the courts. We advice those in the habit of dragging the highly esteemed Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice into knotty issue of this kind even when it is yet to take a position. They should desist from these unwarranted presumptions henceforth”, the statement further stated.

Court Halts Proposed NLC Strike

The National Industrial Court has asked the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, to put its planned strike on hold, pending the hearing and determination of a suit brought before it by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN.

Malami had dragged NLC to the Industrial Court, seeking an order of the court restraining the congress from proceeding with the planned strike on the ground that the strike would paralyse the nation’s economy.

The AGF wants the court to decide whether the NLC complied with conditions precedent in law before threatening to embark on strike, even as he told the Industrial Court that its refusal to grant the application would render the suit useless.

When asked by the presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Adejumo how he got to know that the NLC was planning to embark on strike, Malami said he saw a statement issued by the labour union on their website and that the statement had been published by the media.

Ruling on an exparte application on Tuesday, the court ordered parties to maintain the status quo until the hearing and determination of the exparte motion.

Justice Adejumo, who held that the order is to last for seven days, directed the government to dialogue with the NLC towards an amicable resolution of their dispute.

Shortly after the petroleum minister, Ibe Kachikwu announced N145 as the new price for petrol, the organized labour asked the federal government to reverse the price of petrol within three days or face an indefinite industrial action that would shut down the country.

At the end of a joint meeting between the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, on Saturday, the unions advised Nigerians to stockpile food and staples to prepare for a showdown with the government.

On Monday, a government delegation met with labour leaders to prevent the strike from holding, but the meeting ended in stalemate. The talks is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

Buhari To Seek Greater International Cooperation Against Public Officials At London Summit

President Muhammadu Buhari will by next Tuesday depart Nigeria for London to participate in the international Anti-Corruption Summit which will be held in the British capital on Thursday, May 12, 2016 and hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron with many other Heads of State and Government in attendance.

Ahead of the opening of the summit, Buhari will deliver a keynote address titled: “Why We Must Tackle Corruption Together” at a pre-summit conference of development partners, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Transparency International and other civil society groups on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President is among world leaders scheduled to speak at the opening session of the Anti-Corruption Summit with others, including Prime Minister Cameron and the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

It reads: “Thereafter, President Buhari will join other participating heads of State and Government at special plenary sessions on Exposing Corruption, Tackling Corruption and Driving out Corruption.

“In his address to the summit and interactions with other participating leaders, President Buhari will urge the international community to move faster on the dismantling of safe havens for the proceeds of corruption and the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

“The President will also reaffirm his administration’s unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption and the Federal Government’s readiness to partner with international agencies and other countries to identify, apprehend and punish corrupt public officials.

“President Buhari’s delegation to the Summit will include the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

“Before returning to Abuja on Friday, May 13, 2016, the President is expected to have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Cameron to discuss ongoing Nigeria-Britain collaboration in the war against corruption and terrorism, as well as other issues, including trade and economic relations between both countries.”

Nigeria Close To Recovering $480m From USA – Malami

There is hope for Nigeria that it will soon draw down $480 million (N153.6 billion) looted by fraudulent Nigerians and warehoused in the United States of America. Abubakar Malami (SAN) .

The optimism stems from a recent comparison of notes between top US and Nigerian officials on the looted funds, which were spread in many banks and commercial ventures in America.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, confirmed this weekend, that there had been an appreciable progress between officials of the two nations over the repatriation of the cash to Nigeria. Malami, Minister of Justice, explained that the decision to return the funds followed his recent visit to the US in company of acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, during which they met with the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies over the matter.

“The money that is due for immediate repatriation is $480 million (N95b) and we are confident that we have reached a point that it will be drawn down before long,” the minister said.

It was learnt that the US had, however, given Nigeria some undisclosed conditions to meet before the money would be drawn down, apparently to prevent a repeat of what happened with such funds during previous administrations. The Abacha cash is said to have been revealed, following the forfeiture hearings against the family and others conducted by the US Department of Justice, DoJ, over the years to track the funds from different banks and entities.

The proceedings made it possible for the Abacha family and its associates to forfeit over $550 million and £95,910 in 10 accounts and six investment portfolios linked to them in France, Britain, British Virgin Islands and the United States.

On efforts so far made to stem looting in Nigeria, Malami said: “I can tell you that the Buhari administration is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that all looted Nigerian funds are retrieved and those found to have aided and abetted same brought to justice to serve as a deterrent to potential looters.’’

Malami was optimistic that the repatriation of the huge cash would send a clear and stern signal to corrupt Nigerians that there was no safe haven anywhere to keep stolen Nigerian funds.