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Malabu Deal: AGF, Salami Slammed Over Letter To Buhari |The Republican News

abubakar-malami1

Attorney General Of The Federation,  Abubakar Salami

 

*Wants President to drop the case against Adoke, others for lack of evidence.

*Lawyers express the divergent views

*!AGF queries Magu, Keyamo overcharge against CCT chair

Doosuur Iwambe, and Myke Uzendu, Abuja

In what appears to be a confusion and lack of direction in the fight against corruption, a letter written by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to back off on his administration’s legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal has sparked a row in the country.

While some lawyers backed Malami for exercising the power of nolle prosequi, (power to continue and terminate any case in court), some other lawyers described what the AGF did as contrary to the mantra of Buhari’s war against corruption and politicising the system.

Speaking during separate interviews with The Daily Times on Monday, the lawyers said that the development will far-reaching effect on the war against graft. The lawyers are Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, Manny Ikpebe, Terhemen Ibeh and Hameed Jimoh. Speaking in a telephone interview, Ahamba (SAN), said: “I cannot comment on the propriety or otherwise of the action taken by the AGF. It is a professional matter and I don’t comment on issues that the facts are not before me.

“I don’t have details on Malabu oil except what I read in the newspapers. Those who ate the money are there and I don’t know why Malami has written to the president seeking to discontinue some of the cases. So whether he is wrong or right I cannot say for now.”

In his comment, Yusuf Ali (SAN), said: “As the Chief Law officer of the country, he is the only minister recognised by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and empowered to enter any matter and to either continue or terminate it.

“Malami should be commended for doing his job diligently. As the chief law officer of the land, the EFCC, ICPC, Police and any other prosecuting agencies are under him.

“The ideal thing is that all these prosecuting agencies when they have carried out their investigation ought to get necessary input from the office of the AGF.

“In other words, the office of the AGF ought to scrutinise the level of investigation by the agencies in order to ensure that they have a prima facie case that could be sustained in the courts because investigations are very crucial and germane in any case that is referred to court for adjudication.

“It is because this procedure is not usually followed, that is why you have cases thrown out. Once you do not have a good evidence to build up your case, it will be thrown out.

“Regarding the case of Malabu, Malami should be commended because he has done a good job. There is no point in engaging in endless litigations as it is obvious in the view of the AGF that there is no prima facie case on Malabu matter”.

Falana said, “ Instead of writing to the president or issuing queries, the AGF should exercise his powers under section 174 of the Constitution by filing nolle prosequi to terminate the criminal proceedings if he is sure that the EFCC has abused the prosecutorial powers of the state.”

Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi, in his reaction, said: ” From what we know from the facts of the case as presented to the public, this will be one of few that will not bring the voices on the government to congruence at the confluence of our large rivers (of justice).

“I expect water ran against its course with PDP perhaps hailing it, and Puritans bemoaning it. I am constrained on this occasion to side with the AGF. I could see no probable cause other than impugning acts of state; undermining the office of the President and treating the kicks of the slaughtered cow as tremors of a quake.

“Pressing on would have meant no international or domestic government, business, or person should trust the executive acts of the President, supported by various ministers and agencies of the state. It is a sad narrative that EFFC is unable to see the wood for the trees, and in what appears to be a quest for enemy’s fall rather than blind cause of justice, EFFC was blinded in the glare of the sun of justice as it came out of the darkroom unprepared as a true independent non-partisan Puritan warrior. If only EFFC has seen the signals.”

For Ozekhome (SAN), “That is how it should be. The AGF is the chief law officer for the whole country. He is supposed to be a prosecutor and not persecutor under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution. Once he finds that a case lacks certain ingredients to sustain its prosecutor, he should do the needful by discontinuing it, rather than get humiliated in open court.”

Anthony Agbonlahor in his contribution called on the AGF to use his powers appropriately. He said even though the constitution has empowered the AGF to enter the power of nolle prosequi, the powers should not be abused most especially by a government that came on board with the mantra of fighting corruption.

But Manny Ikpebe wondered why the AGF did not write directly to the court of whatever his intention was.

He said, “If the AGF had intended to enter a nolle prosequi, the letter would have been sent to the court directly and not the president.

“If the said letter was directed to the court, it won’t have raised any question because that way; Nigerians will know that he is only exercising his power of nolle prosequi which requires no explanation but writing a letter to the president now brings him to the political terrain and politics and law at this stage do not go hand on hand.

“What he did is not good for the people and the image of the country at all because Nigerians want to see people presumed to be corrupt go through the process and sentenced accordingly but when you do not allow the process of law to go through completely, it will dampen the spirit of the people”.

For Terhemen Ibeh, nothing is wrong with what the AGF did.

He said: “Since the constitution has empowered him, he has no explanation for his action. The AGF is answerable to the president and is not out of context for him to inform him of his decision, hence the president is the Chief Executive Officer”.

In his view, Hameed Jimoh said that by virtue Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution and other judicial pronouncements, the AGF is empowered to exercise discretion to decide whether to send a letter for Presidential approval or to act without recourse to him on any matter before the court.

He said, “So, sending the letter the President is a discretionary act which no court can query or compel him to act in one way or the other.

“Only that it might be viewed that seeking President’s approval might just be to prove the degree of his loyalty to the President and might be political tactics.”

The Daily Times recalls that Malami had in the letter dated September 27, 2017, urged Buhari to back off on his administration’s legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.

The raging scandal over the OPL 245 oil block began in 2011 when the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration approved its purchase by Shell and Agip-Eni from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd., a suspected briefcase firm with ties to Dan Etete, a convicted criminal who was Nigeria’s petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.

The Jonathan administration officials who participated in the negotiation preceding the controversial sale of the massive oil block included former AGF, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) and Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was the former Minister of Petroleum.

Jonathan himself was named by investigators as being involved in the alleged fraud, but the former president strongly denies the charges.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been pursuing fraud and criminal conspiracy charges against Adoke, Mr Etete and their alleged accomplices since 2016. Adoke and Etete are at large while the anti-graft agency had repeatedly sought to fish them out.

In his letter to President Buhari, the AGF Malami said following due examination of the case files, he was able to determine that the EFCC has no significant evidence to prove its allegations of sharp practices against prominent players like Adoke, Diezani and others.

Meanwhile, the Al-Mushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) has urged President Buhari to ignore the letter written to him by the AGF Malami, urging him to stop the legal battles against the principal actors in the controversial Malabu Oil deal.

President of AITA, Ambassador Aminu Abubakar Majidadi, who was reacting to a letter asking President Buhari to stop the prosecution of Diezani and Adoke over their roles in the controversial Malabu oil deal, said that everybody close to the president should encourage him to bring the prosecution to its logical end. Majidadi said it is untenable for anyone to ask the President to hands off this international case when everyone especially those working with this administration should be seen at the forefront of helping the President to achieve his anti-corruption war.

He said, “We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore this letter but should rather redouble the efforts at seeing this case to its logical conclusion in the interest of national development and honour. This should even be a yard-stick to tackle other dragging corruption cases.”

He also called for special anti-corruption tribunals to fast-track stolen fund recovery and successful prosecution of corruption cases.

In a related development, the strained relationship between the AGF Malami and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, deepened on Monday as Malami queried Magu over the criminal charge filed against the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Yakubu Umar.

The AGF also asked Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) to explain his role over the two-count corruption charge filed before an Abuja High Court against the CCT Chairman.

In the query dated February 16, 2018, and with Reference No DPP/ADV: 368/15 signed by Mr Dayo Apata, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Magu has been asked to make his response available to the AGF on or before Tuesday (today).

Magu is asked to explain what informed the filing of corruption charges against the tribunal chairman after the EFCC had twice cleared Umar of the corruption allegation.

The query titled “FRN VS Danladi Umar (CR/109/18) request for Briefing” read thus: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to the news report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.

“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to seek clarification from you as to whether the charges were filed on your instruction or directive and if in the affirmative, what is the compelling basis for doing so. This clarification becomes imperative in view of the following background facts.

“The Commission’s investigation report dated 5th March 2015 addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated as follows: “The facts as they are now against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence.

“The Commission’s position in paragraph 2(a) above was also maintained and sustained by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation while appearing before the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee sometimes in 2015 to the effect that report of investigations showed that the allegations against Hon. Justice Danladi Umar were based on mere suspicions.

“In view of the foregoing, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation requests for your prompt briefing as to the existence of new facts which are contrary to the position in your attached investigation report, sufficient evidence or other developments upon which the prosecution of Hon. Justice Danladi can be successfully based.

“Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response within 48 hours from the receipt of same is required in the circumstances.”

Also, in a separate letter to Keyamo (SAN), the AGF asked the lawyer who was purportedly engaged by Magu to prosecute the CCT boss to confirm who authorised him to file the corruption charge against Umar.

Keyamo was also given till Tuesday (today) to furnish the Office of the AGF in writing the detail of who engaged or issued him with authority to file the corruption charges.

The letter to Keyamo with reference No DPP/ADV: 369/15 dated February 16, 2018, which was also signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, reads in part:

“The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to the news report that you have filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hereby requests that you kindly furnish this office with the details of the instruction or authorisation upon which you instituted the case under reference. Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response on or before Tuesday, February 20, 2018, is solicited in this regard.”

Although the EFCC had in two separate letters it sent to the Federal Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2015 and 2016 cleared Umar of any wrongdoing in an alleged N10 million bribery allegation by Rasheed Taiwo Owolabi who is standing trial at the tribunal over false asset declaration, the Commission went ahead and charged the tribunal chairman.

It is instructive to note that Umar’s clearance was done by the former Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde in a letter reference No EFCC/EC/SGF/03/56 dated March 5, 2015, which exonerated the CCT boss.

The letter stated that “the facts as they are against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the offence.”

While the other EFCC’s letter stated that a further investigation in 2016 on the N10m bribery revealed that it remained a mere suspicion.

The EFCC report received by the office of SGF on March 6, 2015, was categorical that “the facts as they are against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the offence.”

The EFCC’s second report with reference EFCC/P/HRU/688/V30/99 dated April 20, 2016, and submitted to the SGF and signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Emmanuel Adegboyega Aremo, read in part: “Kindly recall our correspondence of March 5 2015 with Reference EFCC/EC/SGF/03/56 with above subject caption. We will like to reiterate the Commission’s position in regard to this matter as earlier communicated to you and state that the allegation levelled against Justice Umar were merely suspicions and consequently insufficient to prosecute the offence.”

The EFCC had on February 2, 2018, brought a two-count charge against the CCT Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, bordering on alleged receipt of N10m bribe from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo in the charge signed by Festus Keyamo as a private prosecuting counsel and one Offem Uket, an official of EFCC.

Umar was accused of receiving N1.8m through his Personal Assistant, Gambo Abdullahi, for a favour to be afterwards shown to the petitioner who was standing trial for a criminal offence before the tribunal.

Meanwhile, March 15 has been fixed for the arraignment of the CCT boss at the High Court of FCT, Abuja.     (Daily Times)

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We’ll Sell Every Recovered Stolen National Assets – Buhari |The Republican News

By Anule Emmanuel

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the Federal Government under his leadership will sell all recovered looted national assets. Buhari said proceeds of the recovered assets will be paid to the nation’s treasury and utilized for developmental purposes.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, said Buhari disclosed this when he received representatives of social groups in Daura Emirate.

The President assured that his administration will continue to pursue a robust, effective and legitimate anti-corruption campaign that safeguards the treasury and commonwealth of all Nigerians.

Buhari noted that many suspected looters of government’s resources had been denying ownership of their ill-gotten properties and assets across the country. He explained that he was not surprised by the increasing number of those denying ownership or disclaiming the properties traced to them by the various anti-corruption agencies.

The President also said that his government would not allow a repeat of what happened in the 1980s when buildings and other ill-gotten property seized by his military administration were returned to corrupt officials following his ouster as Head of State.

“Some years back, one of my schoolmates in the primary school who worked at a cottage company before his demise predicted that we will come to a situation when looters will deny their loots in Nigeria.

“So, as a civil servant, you have 10 houses in Abuja and even in Kaduna and abroad, the more you show them the properties, the more they will swear that it does not belong to them. “And we are still following the process, you know in a democracy, you have to follow due process and respect the rule of law.

“If you are following, you will hear that some of these looters were arrested, and for those who deny their loots, then instead of what happened before, this time around, we will sell those stolen properties and the proceeds will be deposited in the government treasury. “If the money is in the government treasury, I will see who will come back after we left and reclaim them,” he said.

The president pledged that government would ensure availability of fertilizer and other farm inputs to farmers to sustain the successes recorded by the farmers in the previous farming seasons.

He said: “Please tell Nigerians that we are trying our best, and I thank God, the rainy season will blossom, we will try to add more money to farmers and ensure the availability of fertilizer and other farm inputs.

“We will also continue to reconstruct roads and railways and provide electricity and we promise we will continue to do so.” Buhari told the groups that the APC-led government will consolidate on the gains and monumental achievements in the development of infrastructure across the country. “For most ordinary Nigerians, if you give them good roads, railway and stable electric power, they will be happy to carry on with their lives.

“We are doing so much for our country and we will continue to do more out of the fear of God,” the President said. The groups represented at the meeting were the Daura Emirate Coalition of Associations; the Amalgamation of Daura Emirate Political Associations; the Buhari Group; the Daura Emirate Development Forum; Women in Politics in Daura Emirate and the Daura Emirate Consultative Forum. (New Telegraph)

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Fight On Corruption Will Be Sustained Until New Image Created – Buhari |RN

APC-Governors-visit-Buhari-in-Daura

Uche Usim, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, assured that the ongoing war against corruption will be fiercely sustained until a new image of the country is created.

Speaking at the opening of the first Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), in Abuja, the President, who was represented by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said his administration was determined to make the Nigerian business environment very conducive and attractive to local, regional and global investors.

He added that some Executive Orders bordering on ease of doing business were recently signed to make the Nigerian business climate soothing and investment friendly.

President Buhari described the summit as ‘a good platform to market the rich petroleum and gas resources of the country’, pointing out that his administration would continue to deploy new measures to grow the economy via foreign partnerships.

He applauded the organisers of the summit for modelling it after the popular Offshore Technological Conference (OTC) but localising it as the African Petroleum Technology and Business Conference (APTC).

“It is a very significant and has full government backing and it also represents a platform for global players to come to Africa. As a major component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the summit provides the linkage to the world.

“So, the war against corruption is continuing until there is a image of the country. Part of NIPS is to provide leadership for Africa. To make it one of the most important annual oil and gas summits. We’ll generate revenue and jobs. This will show Nigeria’s focus on oil, boost investors’ confidence, institutionalize reforms and galvanise Nigeria as leading oil player”, the President said.

He said his administration was committed to cleaner energy that is gas based, even as he urged participants to ensure the successful implementation of the resolutions reached at the summit.

In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said NIPS has come to replace OTC, lamenting that the latter had become an annual jamboree for government officials.

“For OTC, we often have 400-500 delegates attending. Yet only a few of the attendees do the real business. It has become export of forex by Nigeria and good forex generation for the US. So, going forward, no government fund will be used to fund it. So, we have set up an African version of it to bring our African stakeholders together and forge ways forward. We need to bring investors here. To see what Africa has to offer.

“Our challenge is production of clean energy. Oil has got to provide jobs and power the country. We need to grow technically and improve human skills and become major investors in other Africas nations. We can export our works there just the like the banks have done.

“We have to move from 10 to 40 per cent investments in the sector. Already, we’ve changed funding mechanism in up stream. Egina, $15 billion, bonga potential $10 billion and in all, we will have $40 billion investments in the near future.

“We’re addressing restiveness in the Niger Delta region and we’re committed to getting our refineries working from the current 14 per cent to 95 per cent in 18-20 months time.

“NNPC has moved into competitive mode. It’s been freed up.

Also speaking at the event, the Secretary General of Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, described the summit as very innovative, urging the Nigerian government to sustain it.   (The Sun)

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Buhari Reinstates NHIS Boss,Usman Yusuf Under Probe For Alleged N919m Fraud

Prof-Usman-Yusuf

NHIS Boss, Prof. Usman Yusuf

President Muhammadu Buhari has recalled the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on July 6, 2017, has learnt.
In a letter with reference number, ‘SH/COS/10/6/A/29’, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President informed the minister of Yusuf’s recall, adding that he (Yusuf) had been “admonished to work harmoniously with the minister.”
The letter, it was learnt, was sent to the minister on Tuesday evening. When our correspondent called the minister to confirm the new development, Adewole only said, “Yes, what you have heard is true.” He refused to answer any further inquiries about the issue.
Sources at the federal Ministry of Health also confirmed Yusuf’s reinstatement. They did not, however, disclose when the NHIS boss would resume.
The letter made no mention of the probe Yusuf was facing at the EFCC.
Incidentally, Yusuf was being grilled by the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday when his letter of reinstatement was sent to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Yusuf, who is being probed by the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, was accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m.
A committee set up by the minister had submitted a probe report to the President last September accusing Yusuf of abuse of office.
In the report which was compiled by senior officials of the health ministry, the Department of State Services and the ICPC, the panel described Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by conniving with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m.
According to the panel, the N919m was dubiously given as payment to consultants for staff training.
The committee said as the head of the agency, Yusuf was personally responsible for all administrative, procurement and financial lapses.
According to the report, “His (Yusuf’s) deceitful attitude coupled with ‘name dropping’ of Mr. President as having sent him to sanitise the NHIS but he caused more harm than good to the scheme.”
The committee, therefore, recommended that the EFCC probe the agency for diversion of funds and contravention of the Procurement Act of 2007.
The report stated that Yusuf contravened the Procurement Act of 2007 through nepotism and other irregular award of contracts and should be sanctioned in line with the provision of the Act.
Explaining how the alleged staff training scam took place, the committee said in some instances, the number of trainees was far more than the entire number of employees at the agency while in some other instances, some employees were registered for the same training in two different states at the same time.
Most of the consultants were said to have charged about N250, 000 per participant.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported in December that Yusuf, who is close to the cabal in the Presidency, had been making moves to return to his post.
When our correspondent reached out to him to respond to the allegations levelled against him last December, Yusuf had said, “Fck you, and fck the minister.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Yusuf was grilled for over 12 hours at the EFCC on Monday and Tuesday.
A source at the EFCC said, “The NHIS boss was with us all through Monday and returned on Tuesday for more questioning. His passport was also seized. He will return on another day for more questioning.” (Punch)

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Fayose Berates Justice Abang Over Olisa Metuh’s Court Appearance While On Hospital Bed

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has described the controversial Federal High Court Judge, Okon Abang, as a disgrace to the judiciary in Nigeria, saying that the judge was acting more like a persecutor in the case of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, such that he ridiculed Nigeria by causing an accused to be brought to court on a stretcher.

The governor, who said it was clear that Justice Abang was out to satisfy the sinister aim of Metuh’s persecutors, said; “In saner climes, all that is needed as proof of inability to stand trial due to ill health is a doctor report from duly recognized health institution and one wonders whether medical report from federal government owned Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State should not have been enough to convince Justice Abang that Metuh was indeed sick.

According to a statement issued, on Tuesday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere OIayinka, Governor Fayose said; “Shame on Abang, a judge who goes to court robing himself in garment of corruption. Why didn’t he (Abang) dock Metuh with the stretcher on which he was brought to court yesterday despite all his initial bragging?

“The judge’s utterances during last month’s court appearance when he was told that Metuh was on admission and could not appear in court was a clear demonstration of malice and desperation to convict an accused person at all cost.

The governor said it was obvious that Justice Abang’s only aim was to satisfy the interest of those with evidence of his corrupt practices, adding that; “When they needed the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Chairman, Danladi Umar to help them convict Senate President Bukola Saraki, they made the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clear him of culpability in the N10 million bribery allegation levelled against him.

“In April 2016, the EFCC said via a letter signed by the Secretary of the Commission, Emmanuel Adegboyega Aremo that ‘after investigating the case for some time, it became clear that the whole allegation bordered in the realm of mere suspicion and would be difficult to charge the CCT judge to court based on the allegation.’

“Today, the same Umar that they cleared has been charged to court by the EFCC on the same allegation.

“Obviously, they intend to use the criminal charges filed against the CCT chairman to blackmail him into doing their sinister bidding of convicting Senator Saraki at all cost just as they are doing in the case of Metuh.

“On August 18, 2016, five Appeal Court justices in their judgment in the case of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu Vs. Samson Ogah, said Justice Abang committed a rape on democracy!

“Also, a three-member panel of Appeal Court judges led by Justice Ibrahim Salauwa said the judgement delivered by Justice Abang on October 14, 2016 was as ‘fraudulent as it was violent’ and that the judge acted like Father Christmas.

“If not because of his ability to do hatchet jobs for those presently holding Nigeria at the jugular, how can a judge like Abang that has been adjudged severally as giving fraudulent judgments and acting like Father Christmas still sit in judgment over cases involving Nigerians?”

“We therefore call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice  Walter Onnoghen to do something on Abang to save the bench in the hand of judges like him.  (The Sun)

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Anti-Corruption Agencies Looting Recovered Assets, Says Saraki |RN

Bukola-Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

From Fred Itua, Abuja 

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has alleged that proceeds of corruption recovered by the Federal Government are being looted by the anti-corruption agencies.

The senate president blamed anti-graft agencies in the country for making it difficult for the federal government to convince other nations to return funds looted.

Saraki said these at a one-day strategic retreat on Tackling the progress of anti-corruption bills in the National Assembly, yesterday, where he reiterated that many assets recovered were relooted by the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria. 

He was  represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ibn Bala Na’Allah.

“Nigeria is finding it difficult to convince other nations to return funds looted from our treasury. This is because of other nations’ exasperation over the management of returned assets.

“Only recently,  Mr. President inaugurated a committee to audit all assets recovered by various government agencies.

“The National Assembly has been strident about the opacity shrouding the management of recovered funds, which, in many cases, gets reported by the agencies that investigated and recovered them. 

“An ad-hoc committee of the senate, which is investigating some administrative infraction in the Executive,  has discovered that many properties recovered from fugitives from the law have not been accounted for, by the investigating agency.  This gives global community great concern about the commitment of Nigeria to the anti-corruption drive.”

In his opening remarks, chairman of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said Nigeria’s struggle against entrenched corruption is a global concern.

Utazi expressed dissatisfaction with the suspension of Nigeria by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, at a time Nigeria has made anti-corruption a cardinal policy of government. 

He added that the suspension greatly impedes the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Utazi said: “The suspension activated the immediate shutdown of the EGMONT secure Web, ESW,  against Nigeria, with the implication that Nigeria can no longer exchange sensitive information with about 172 other member countries in order to carry out investigative and regulatory responsibilities as they affect local and international bothering on money laundering, terrorism financing. 

“This is dreadful consequences on sharing criminal intelligence and financial information bothering on money laundering, terrorism financing, proliferation of arms,  corruption, financial crimes, economic crimes and such like offences geared towards the support of local and international investigations, prosecution and asset recovery.”

In his own remarks, Director of Africa network for Environment and Economic Justice,  (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, disclosed that Swiss government and Nigeria government are at the final stage of returning $321 million to Nigeria.

from Abacha’s loot. 

According to him, the return of $321 million Abacha’s loot is at the final stage. “We want to commend the federal government for making sure that the country take recovery of Abacha’s loot,” he said.   (The Sun)

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$2bn Scam: EFCC Accuses DSS Of Protecting Indicted Officials |RN

MusaDaura1                          DSS Chief, Lawal Daura

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has accused the Department of State Services of refusing to release its officials for questioning over their alleged roles in the $2bn arms scam purportedly perpetrated by a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

The EFCC said this in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday.

Uwujaren issued the statement in response to a publication by a national daily in which an anonymous DSS official accused the EFCC of attempting to humiliate officials of the secret police agency because the Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, scuttled the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, at the Senate.

According to the report, an anonymous DSS official said, “What are they (EFCC) trying to do, audit our operations or what? Did the service report any financial infraction to them and call for their intervention? It is just a case of overzealousness and lack of professionalism and we won’t allow that, because what you allow is what will continue.

“If they (EFCC) need any clarification on anything, they should come to our office. We can’t be humiliated by anybody. Never!  If this is the fallout from the security report officially requested by the National Assembly, then we wish them luck. We stand by our findings.”

However, the EFCC said it was not on a witch-hunt.

The commission said it invited DSS officials just as it had invited officers of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy.

According to the anti-graft agency, while military officers made themselves available and culpable ones have since been arraigned, the DSS refused to release its officers for questioning.

The EFCC said, “It is important to state that it is not strange for the EFCC to invite (for questioning) officers of other law enforcement agencies alleged to be complicit in any case being investigated by the commission. But there are protocols in doing this; and part of that protocol is to write to the heads of such agencies, requesting that the officer(s) in question be released to be interviewed.

“In the course of investigating the arms procurement scandal in the Office of the former  National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), the commission has had cause to request the release of officers of other security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air force, the Nigerian Navy and now the DSS, for questioning. All but the DSS have acceded to this request.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the arms procurement investigation is national in outlook with alleged culprits cutting across the military, security establishments as well as the political class. It is not targeted at any institution.

“Consequently, the insinuation about a revenge-instigated investigation of the DSS by the EFCC over its role in the senate refusal to confirm Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC, is not only specious, but pure mischief contrived for motives that are unclear.”   (Punch)

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