The Civil Society Network Against Corruption has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari about how the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has been stalling high-profile corruption cases to protect “crooks’.
The rights group informed the President that Malami takes over the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases in order to protect his allies from facing justice.
The group cited how Malami took over prosecution of the case of a former lawmaker, Dino Melaye, and how the AGF also technically took over the trial of former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
CSNAC in a petition signed by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said the taking over of cases by Malami raises foul play and undermines the corruption mantra of the Buhari-administration.
Suraju added that Melaye’s alleged action was in gross contravention of the Code of Conduct for public officers by virtue of the above stated constitutional provision.
The petition reads, “We were surprised at that development and suspected a foul play, considering the power of Attorney-General under Section 174 of the constitution is limited to instituting or taking over cases instituted in court and not “arresting an investigation” as was obvious in the case under reference
“The Code of Conduct Bureau is one of the Federal Executive bodies established by section 153 of the constitution.
“The CCB as an autonomous body is not subject to the control of any public officer or institution. But in violation of the constitution, Mr Abubakar Malami, the AGF technically took over the prosecutorial function of CCB and technically arresting its constitutional duties, sabotaged and frustrated the constitutional functions of the Bureau by converting it into an extension of the Office of Attorney-General who may decide to prosecute or decline prosecution of any case.
“You will recall that the Chairman of the Presidential Panel for Recovery of Public Property was suspended last year by your office on the recommendation of the AGF. Even though the President did not dissolve the panel or remove other members, the AGF has disbanded the panel and seized all the files and assets recovered by the Panel without further prosecution of any of the cases handed over to the ministry by the panel.”
He also stated that contrary to Section 30 of the EFCC Act, which empowers Secretary of the EFCC to sell assets confiscated on the orders of courts without any amendment to this law, the AGF issued special regulations in 2019 which attempted to confer on his office the powers to take over assets confiscated by the EFCC and sell them.
The group also accused Malami of technically taking over the EFCC, saying that based on the recommendation of the AGF, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu has been suspended while a Judicial Commission of Enquiry is currently investigating the allegations of corruption leveled against him by the AGF.
“The AGF has taken advantage of the ongoing probe to technically take over the EFCC. He has placed 12 officers of the EFCC on suspension including the Commission Secretary, without following due process of fair hearing,” CSNAC said.
Suraju said the actions of Malami were an extension of the reckless abuse of the power of nolle prosequi the AGF regularly employs to discontinue corruption cases being pursued by the anti-graft agencies.
“Several civil society and anti-corruption bodies have documented the several corruption cases that have been discontinued by the AGF and forwarded same to your office,” he added.