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Aondoakaa Harasses Top Civil Servant to Please Chief Justice Kutigi

December 30, 2008
Sources within the Nigerian judiciary as well as the Petroleum Equalization Fund have revealed to Saharareporters that Attorney General and Minister for Justice Michael Aondoakaa has launched a war against the Fund’s female executive secretary for “having the effrontery to suspend the son of Chief Justice Legbo Kutigi of the Supreme Court.”

Aondoakaa has launched a barrage of verbal threats against PEF executive secretary Adefunke Sharon Kasali for recently suspending Ibrahim Kutigi, an operation officer 2 on Salary Scale 6 representing the PEF at the ASCON Depot in Lagos. Ibrahim Kutigi was suspended on October 20, 2008 when Mrs. Kasali paid an unscheduled visit to his office only to find out that he was absent from work. Instead of being at his post in Lagos, Mr. Kutigi was in Abuja attending to his personal business interests. His absence earned him a suspension alongside two other workers, one of them being Sanusi Tsafe.

Ibrahim Kutigi’s suspension was supposed to last three months, but the Chief Justice reportedly asked Aondoakaa to intervene on his son’s behalf.

An irate Aondoakaa, who has been spending millions of dollars to coax Supreme Court justices to uphold Umaru Yar’adua’s “election,” then ordered the permanent secretary of the Petroleum Resources Ministry to direct Mrs. Kasali to recall Ibrahim Kutigi without further delay. When the Permanent Secretary seemed too slow in getting Mrs. Kasali to reverse her decision, Aondoakaa called the executive secretary directly and threatened to have sacked, according to sources familiar with the drama.

A scared Kasali immediately recalled Ibrahim Kutigi and ‘promoted’ him as head of a department in her office in Abuja effective from Monday, December 1, 2008.  

Despite this overture, Mrs. Kasali’s troubles were far from over. Aondoakaa, who accused her of trying to “sabotage the Yar’Adua government,” instigated unions at PEF against her, all in an attempt to prepare the ground for her removal from office.

As part of the moves against the woman, senior staff members of PEF refused to take promotion examinations scheduled to take place today. They claimed that they want all pending promotions of senior staff members cleared before they would participate in any further promotions examinations.

SaharaReporters contacted Mrs. Kasali through a text message, but she sent Goddy Nnadi, the PEF’s head of Public and Government Affairs, to speak with us. Mr. Nnadi confirmed that the senior staff exams did not take place as scheduled before his phone signals faded away. Our repeated calls to his number went unanswered.

Kutigi's son’s saga at PEF comes as SaharaReporters has received highly reliable information that Aondoakaa has told Yar'adua that five Supreme Court justices have agreed to validate Yar’adua’s fraudulent mandate in exchange for substantial inducement.

Investigations by SaharaReporters revealed that Aondoakaa, who is anchoring the bribery scheme, has so far spent $30 million to purchase Supreme Court judges. Our sources named Chief Justice Kutigi as one of the five lined up behind Yar’adua.

Our sources said part of the plan is for Aondoakaa to travel out of Nigeria for a few days before the judgment to give the impression that he had no input into or foreknowledge of the verdict.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that the Supreme Court justices had entered into a deal to sell electoral justice to the highest bidder. After our reports, which were not publicly contested, a member of the seven-member Supreme Court panel mentioned in our report, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, was nominated as a member of the Federal delegation to annual hajj in Saudi Arabia. Justice Musdapher recently withdrew from the hajj delegation after Baba Galadima of The Buhari Organization (TBO) raised questions about his inclusion in the delegation.

Despite Justice Musdapher’s withdrawal, investigations by SaharaReporters revealed that he did not return monies already paid to him by the hajj committee for sundry expenses. He claimed that the fees went into his single trip to a hajj camp in Gombe.

SaharaReporters has repeatedly reported that Justices Musdapher and Aloysius Iyorgher Katsina-Alu were Aondoakaa’s spearheads in the scheme to bribe members of the apex court.

If Aondoakaa’s “interim report” to Yar'adua holds, the following five justices are in the bag to vote to uphold Yar’adua’s “election:” Katsina-Alu, Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnonghen, Chief Justice Legbo Kutigi, Aloma Mariam Mukhtar and Dahiru Musdapher.

SaharaReporters learnt that Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen was leaning towards invalidation of the presidential polls until the Yar'adua team recruited Mr. Kanu Agabi, former President Olusegun Obasanjo's attorney general, to “work on him.” Agabi reportedly blackmailed Onnonghen “by reminding him of his sordid past,” said one of our sources.

Before his controversial elevation to the Supreme Court justice, Justice Onnoghen who is from Cross River State had worked at the Court of Appeal. He was indicted by a panel headed by Justice Kayode Eso that looked into the activities of the judiciary. Even so, Agabi, who was Obasanjo's AGF in 1999 and who had recommended him for elevation to the Appeal Court, had helped to get Justice Onnoghen off the hook. SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Onnoghen capitulated when Agabi approached him and warned that his troubled past might come into focus if he refused to rule in favor of Yar'adua.

Incidentally, Agabi is the lead attorney for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the final stage of the presidential elections appeal case before the Supreme Court.

SaharaReporters also learnt that Chief Justice Kutigi, worried about the repercussions of an unpopular verdict validating Yar’adua’s “election,” is looking for ways not to be held singularly responsible for the judgment.

“Justice Kutigi feels his hands are tied,” said a source close to the CJ. “He knows their judgment is bound to displease the Nigerian people, so he doesn’t want to carry the can alone.” Our source said Kutigi was weighing asking the justices to write separate judgments based upon their understanding of the case.

“It’s his way of holding the justices individually responsible for their judgments,” said another source. “But Aondoakaa and Yar'adua’s other handlers are not comfortable with the arrangement. They had bargained for Musdapher and Katsina-Alu to write the judgment on behalf of the seven-man crew, with the possibility of Justices Oguntade and Nikki Tobi writing a dissenting judgment if they so wish.”

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