Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The plan by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to re-open some alleged high-profile corruption cases has been stalled by lack of funds, The PUNCH has learnt.
Sources in the AGF office confirmed to our correspondent on Tuesday that the corruption cases, involving some former governors, were among those affected by paucity of funds.
It was learnt that because of insufficient funds, the AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), recently shifted attention to the more sensitive cases of the judges being prosecuted for alleged corruption.
One of the sources said, “You will recall that the office of the AGF had, in July, written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, demanding the files of some former governors with a view to commencing action on deserving ones.
“But the plan has not been implemented largely because of lack of funds.
“Also, the cases of the arrested judges came up, and due to the sensitivity of the case, the little available resources have to be expended on them.”
A source added that much fund was needed to prosecute the ex-governors’ cases because they would be handled by private lawyers put together by the National Prosecution Coordinating Committee of the Federal Government.
Other high-profile cases were also said to have been affected by the lack of fund.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the AGF’s letter to the anti-corruption agencies, requesting the files on the former governors, had indicated that many of the cases had been investigated some years ago but charges were never filed against those found to be culpable.
The letter partly read, “It is clear that some of these governors and other politically-exposed persons have not been charged to court despite the fact that the ICPC has concluded the investigations concerning allegations levelled against them for one reason or the other.
“It is the position of the present administration that all ex-governors, on who the ICPC had long concluded investigations into the various allegations levelled against them, should be immediately prosecuted.”
The letter to the anti-corruption agencies in July had given a 14-day ultimatum to the agencies to “remit the duplicate case files, concerning the politically-exposed persons investigated by the ICPC over the years”, to the office of the AGF.
The PUNCH had reported that some of the ex-governors were currently undergoing trial on charges initiated against them by the EFCC at either the various divisions of the Federal High Court or the High Courts of their home states.
There are about five of the former governors, who are now serving senators.
Some of them had served as senators after completing two terms of eight years as governors.
The affected personalities served as governors for either one or two terms between 1999 and 2015 and are from all the six geopolitical zones of the country.
On the list is a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who was convicted and recently completed his jail term in the United Kingdom.
The list also contains the names of Senate President Bukola Saraki, the former Governor of Kwara State; Godswill Akpabio (a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State) and Ali Modu Sheriff (a former Governor of Borno State).
Other ex-governors on the list are Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Saminu Turaki (Jigawa); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
The list also contains the names of Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Boni Haruna (Adamawa); George Akume (Benue); Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto) and Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo).
Others are Usman Dakingari (Kebbi); Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi); Peter Odili (Rivers); and Lucky Igbindedion (Edo).
The AGF’s letter also requested the files of other high-profile cases involving politically-exposed persons.
The AGF letter defines high-profile cases as cases “involving alleged misconduct amounting to economic sabotage; involving complex financial transactions or property movement involving any of the suspects, who is a politician, a public officer or judicial officer; and where the subject matter involves government or corruption of its official or involves abuse of office.” (Punchng.com)